Humboldt-Universität ends teaching contract with lecturer

President’s Executive Council reacts to debate about comments on Twitter

The President’s Executive Council of Humboldt-Universität has released a lecturer from her teaching duties. This decision is a reaction to statements made by the lecturer on the short message service Twitter, in which she published tweets that were perceived by the public as anti-Semitic positions.

Students of the Department of Social Sciences had approached the Management Board of the Department at the end of 2021. After obtaining statements from the teacher concerned and from students, the allegations were examined and discussed. As a result, the Management Board of the Department came to the conclusion that there was no misconduct on the part of the teacher in question in the context of courses and other official activities.

Of course, all employees of Humboldt-Universität have the opportunity to engage in social media. They bear the responsibility for their private or professional statements themselves. However, social media are not a lawless space. Humboldt-Universität points this out to its employees in the Social Media Guidelines. 

After dealing with the accusations, the President’s Executive Council of Humboldt-Universität accordingly underlined its conviction that in this case private and official statements cannot be assessed separately and condemned the lecturer’s statements on Twitter. "We take the students’ criticism and fears very seriously," says Peter Frensch, acting president of Humboldt-Universität.

What can prevention look like?

In view of complaints alleging discrimination that are brought to the attention of the university administration, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin has further intensified its commitment to a discrimination-free university and is currently expanding its complaint and counselling services for students and employees affected by discrimination. The strategy process includes the development of a "Diversity" mission statement and the coordination of existing and new awareness-raising measures in teaching, research and administration. The process is participatory and is the responsibility of the Office of the Central Women’s Representative. The Central Women’s Representative also chairs the Diversity Working Group. In addition, the establishment of a task force specifically dedicated to the issue of anti-Semitism is under discussion.


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