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Appeal to treat each other with respect at Bielefeld University

Published 3. Juni 2016, 10:00 h
Dear students and employees of Bielefeld University,

Universities have to be more than just institutions for studying, teaching, and research. Students should also pursue their personal development during their studies. Alongside study courses and teaching, Bielefeld University offers a range of ways to get involved – be it in university politics, music, the arts, sports, or intercultural cooperation.


Bielefeld University is cosmopolitan and diverse. People of all different origins, religions, and sexual orientations both with and without disabilities enrich our university. We believe that it is only in such an atmosphere that the academic world can be creative. We expressly aim for a climate in which people can experiment and try things out. Nonetheless, in such a large and diverse institution as the university, this can only function when each and every one of us keeps to the rules and accepts a culture in which we all treat each other with respect.

Bielefeld University is committed to freedom of opinion as a constituent element of academia and democracy. Therefore it provides a space and a framework for articulating opinions. Topics in university politics are not just discussed in committees here; attitudes and positions are also articulated in posters, flyers, and meetings. These debates also frequently extend to topics that go beyond the university and also address social, cultural, and political topics in society as a whole. The limits to freedom of opinion are given by respect for personal rights and criminal laws. The university management has also drawn up formal rules providing a framework to protect freedom of opinion. These rules apply particularly to posters in the university halls or to the use of university premises. By allowing freedom of opinion within this framework, the university also appeals for freedom of opinion to be accepted or at least tolerated within this framework.

Nonetheless, the Rektorat dissociates itself from all positions that deny historical facts, are inhuman, glorify violence, or are sexist in nature. In areas in which no legal or formal limits are given, we all – and that means the university administration, students, and employees – have to grapple with the content of such opinions and positions. This is the reason for launching such projects as the ‘University without Prejudice/Uni ohne Vorurteile’ initiative that provide a context within which such topics can be addressed.

Currently, however, we are seeing that something has changed in our university: to some extent, political and cultural discussions have become more aggressive and emotional. They are not always characterized by fairness and respect.

We wish to state categorically and clearly: Please do engage in your arguments and discussions! Express your opinion within the given frameworks! However, also accept that there are other opinions than your own! We appeal to all actively engaged groups and individuals to comply with the rules and treat each other with respect!

The Rektorat

 
 
Gesendet von NLangohr in General
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