No Online Exam Proctoring at UM

No Online Exam Proctoring at UM

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NovUM Maastricht started this petition to Maastricht University

The student representatives of NovUM, elected by the students and for the students, oppose the use of camera and sound observations in the living rooms of students used to effect control during exams. This phenomenon, the so called ‘proctoring’, is unlawful and unconstitutional. During this crisis some universities in the Netherlands have enacted proctoring like Eindhoven, Utrecht, Tilburg and Wageningen, and petitions have started and questions have been as far up as in the parliament. Many student representatives have resisted these Orwellian developments, but these have all been overruled, as if it were negotiable. Yours is the right to privacy, and it should be a primacy, but all that remains is a fallacy.  And regardless of the great resistance, the practice has been enacted on Maastricht University now too.

NovUM believes that all students (in fact all humans) have the right to privacy and to the respect of their home. It is not just NovUM who hold this view, it’s in the Dutch constitution. The constitution creates civil rights, basically to protect citizens from the government, and it just so happens to be that our Dutch university is the government. The articles 10 and 12 of the constitution contain the right to privacy and the duty for the government to stay out of your house, respectively. The Dutch supreme court consistently applies this also to digital entrance. It will not be the corona crisis, but the question how far the government and its institutions can take away civil rights that will be the defining issue of our time.

The above mentioned constitutional rights have clauses in which deviation is allowed if its stated by law, but where are those laws? Any state that applies the rule of law must meet the principle of legality. Show us the proper legislature where it says that the university may have a view of your room, that it may record you and the sounds of your house. Show us that these measures meet the general principles of good governance, that these rules supposedly allowing it have been carefully prepared (article 3:2 Administrative Law Act), and that it was well motivated (article 3:46 Administrative Law Act). And show us that this rule specifically apply to the examining of students and that benefits outweighs the harms (article 3:4). Obviously such a rule does not exist.

Even if all these requirements would have been met, then it still would not comply with the principle of proportionality. If other solutions can be found then those solutions should be used, especially when the alternative infringes upon a civil right. Think about other measures and immediately any student can give you solutions like open book exams, reducing exam times, text assignments, oral examinations, and many more.

Your university may think you don’t care, that you’ll react with indifference, and that you shouldn’t have anything to hide. But arguing that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.

In conclusion, we call out to students to be aware that this is happening and we request your action!

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