12.03.2024 Against the reintroduction of disciplinary law! Stop the 17th BerlHG amendment (English translation of the Press Release of the Landesastenkonferenz LAK)

This is a translation of the statement released by the Landesastenkonferenz (LAK) Berlin on 03/12/2023. The original statement can be found here.

The Berlin Senate has set itself the goal of introducing disciplinary law on students - including compulsory exmatriculation as a regulatory measure - into the Berlin Higher Education Act (BerlHG) before Easter. The most serious and repressive intervention in the political participation of students for over 50 years is now to be pushed through in a fast-track procedure.

We are stunned by the fact that we, as the state student conference, were only given 4 working days during the examination phase to comment on this. Our application for an extension of this deadline was rejected by the Senate administration. This gives the impression that an attempt has been made to deliberately exclude us students from the process. We criticise the extent to which authoritarian policies are being pursued here under the pretext of protecting marginalised students. Not only does this procedure reveal a clear democratic deficit on the part of the Berlin Senate, but the content of the bill itself must also be rejected.

We have made this clear in our statement to the Senate Department for Science, which we have published on this site.

Missing the target: gateway for the right to regulate opinions

"With this draft bill, the SPD and CDU not only want to reintroduce the old disciplinary law from before 2021. The very far-reaching and vague draft, which was introduced in a fast-track procedure, will massively restrict any political participation of Berlin students in the future. In its repressive content, it goes far beyond the old disciplinary law from 2021.” says Ali Mehrens (Teaching and Studies Officer - HU). The proposed law is - despite repeated assurances to the contrary by the Senator for Science - a gateway to a right to regulate behaviour. It should be emphasised that all of the proposed regulatory measures have a repressive effect. Students whose funding or residence status depends on enrolment are particularly affected by the consequences.

"It is becoming clear that the Senate's motivation is primarily to present itself to the public as a particularly tough government and not the absolutely necessary protection of marginalised students," explains Gabriel Tiedje (Higher Education Policy Officer - TU).

Planned BerlHG amendment: Technical shortcomings and rushed procedure

The proposed bill violates several constitutional principles and introduces a special criminal justice system at universities. It has serious technical deficiencies - the main ones being the lack of procedural regulations and an undefined, overly broad definition of violence. At no point is the proposed law suitable for achieving its justified purpose - ensuring a safe space for students free from discrimination and violence.

Regulatory measures - in particular compulsory exmatriculation - represent a serious encroachment on (fundamental) rights. This is particularly the case as the offences presented are so broad that any political action by students could be affected - from disrupting events to putting up posters and making public statements about lecturers, everything could be covered.

"It is all the more scandalous that we, as the Landesastenkonferenz (LAK), the central representative body of Berlin's student bodies, barely had time to take a stand on the 17th BerlHG amendment. This shows what value the Berlin government places on democratic processes and the opinions of students," adds Luca Schenk (Higher Education Policy Officer - HU) in conclusion.

The draft law must be urgently rejected for all the reasons mentioned. We call on Berlin students to inform themselves and fight together with us against this repressive proposal!

- the Berlin Student Conference -

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  • erstellt:17.03.24, 22:48
  • geändert:24.05.24, 20:23