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University and Society

Cosmopolitan, open-minded, welcoming: International and intercultural exchange have a decisive impact on research and teaching at the University of Freiburg. The university community is broadened and enriched by people of all nations and creeds. Science and research are unthinkable without this exchange among people from different countries and cultures working together on solutions to the great challenges of the present and future. The university therefore categorically opposes racism and xenophobia.

The University of Freiburg is part of a global network encompassing over 300 partnerships with prestigious higher education institutions on all five continents. In the 2019/20 winter semester 4.385 international students from around 130 countries were matriculated at the university. In addition, the university has around 750 international employees from more than 90 countries in its academic, administrative, and technical staff.

Statement from the Senate at the University of Freiburg on social responsibility at the University

The Senate at the University of Freiburg clearly and unmistakably advocates pluralism, cosmopolitanism and tolerance. It opposes all forms of intolerance, anti-Semitism, extremism, xenophobia, populism and racism in all areas of the University and defends the university as a place of open exchange and courageous plans for the future.

There is cause for dismay and concern. On November 5, 2019, a University of Freiburg student council event on the topic “The Far-Right Movement in the Southwest with Examples from Freiburg” could not take place undisturbed. On the same day, one of our University students had his kippa physically ripped from his head in a fitness studio in Freiburg. The Senate at the University of Freiburg comments as follows:

The freedom of academia, liberality and tolerance characterize the University community. It opposes all forms of intolerance. Tolerance does not mean indifference and by no means excludes contradiction and criticism of expressions of opinion. The University is a space for discourse on social problems and challenges. It is not a matter of partiality, but of a scientifically based position gained from the diversity of opinions. Diversity also means recognizing that there are many differing opinions and points of view.

As a strong community that shares liberal-democratic and cosmopolitan basic values, the University of Freiburg and the people here who study, teach, conduct research or work in administration and technology are committed to upholding those values. In an objective discourse, they also confront positions that contradict their own basic convictions or the University spirit of openness. They do not react to provocation with provocation, but oppose inhuman views with arguments. However, the limits of tolerance are reached where events are disturbed, people are attacked or fears of people are exploited.

With this in mind, the Senate at the University of Freiburg makes it unequivocally clear that racism, anti-Semitism, any other form of discrimination and misanthropy as well as all forms of unlawful conduct at the University and towards members of the University will not be tolerated. Furthermore, the Senate at the University of Freiburg supports the resolution of the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) from November 19, 2019 “No place for anti-Semitism.”

The Senate appeals to all members at the University of Freiburg to oppose all forms of intolerance and to play an active role in ensuring that the University remains a place of curiosity, openness and plurality.

(passed unanimously on 27 November 2019)