University and Society
Cosmopolitan, open-minded, welcoming: International and intercultural exchange have a decisive impact on research and teaching at the University of Freiburg. “Our university community is broadened and enriched by people of all nations and creeds,” says Rector Prof. Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer. “Science and research are unthinkable without this exchange among people from different countries and cultures working together on solutions to the great challenges of our 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 2015/16 winter semester more than 4000 international students from around 130 countries were matriculated at the university – more than ever before. In addition, the university has around 900 international employees from 80 countries in its academic, administrative, and technical staff.
Statement of the University of Freiburg Senate against Xenophobia
The University of Freiburg Senate emphatically condemns all forms of xenophobic activity throughout the university. Several university institutions have repeatedly fallen victim to xenophobic attacks in the past months: Following a cyberattack, university printers unwittingly printed inflammatory anti-Semitic material. The building of the Student Government and other university buildings have been vandalized repeatedly with swastikas scratched into window frames and xenophobic stickers; these stickers evidently come from the right-wing extremist “Identitarian movement,” which is currently under observation by Germany’s domestic intelligence service.
The basis for the Senate resolution is the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, which clearly states (Article 3, Paragraph 3, Clause 1): “No person shall be favored or disfavored because of sex, parentage, race, language, homeland and origin, faith, or religious or political opinions.”
Against this backdrop, the University of Freiburg makes it absolutely clear that universities are places of pluralism, open-mindedness, and international exchange. In the 2015/16 winter semester, for example, more than 16 % of the students matriculated at the University of Freiburg were of foreign origin, and the proportion of international students and scholars has been on the rise for years. There is no place for racism and xenophobia at the University of Freiburg.
Research and teaching need a climate marked not by hate and fear but by curiosity and openness. The University of Freiburg regards creating and maintaining this climate as one of its most important responsibilities. The Senate calls upon the members of the University of Freiburg to take an active part in this endeavor.
(passed unanimously on 28 September 2016)
“Day of Diversity”
The University of Freiburg has held a “Day of Diversity” each year since 2012. The event on 14 November 2016 was devoted to the topic “ethnic and geographic origin,” thus picking up the thread of the topic from 2015, “social origin.” The 2016 Day of Diversity aimed to increase awareness, foster exchange among university members, and present the diversity of origins at the University of Freiburg for all to see and experience. The program included an international buffet, the screening of a film on origins produced exclusively for the university, and a wide range of other exciting events.
“Charter of Diversity”
The University of Freiburg is actively committed to supporting the diversity of its employees and students. We see it as our responsibility to create and nurture an organizational culture in which diversity is valued and regarded as an enrichment for research and teaching. The university reaffirmed this commitment to diversity in 2009 by signing the Charter of Diversity. .
Campaign: “Universities for Openness and Tolerance and against Xenophobia”
In November 2015, the University of Freiburg participated in the nationwide campaign “Universities for Openness and Tolerance and against Xenophobia,” sponsored by the German Rectors’ Conference. More than 250 German universities teamed up to show their solidarity and make it clear that there’s no place for xenophobia and violence in Germany and Europe.
The University of Freiburg’s Office for Gender and Diversity provides news and a wide selection of informational material on diversity on its „Gender and Diversity“ website. In addition, several Student Government sections concentrate on this issue.