April 23, 2024

Science: FU Berlin: If the lecturer recommends the correct content

Students accuse a Freie Universität lecturer of spreading right-wing ideas

Image: dpa | Jorg Carstensen

A rather unusual sight in the quiet district of Dahlem: On Wednesday, about 40 students from Freie’s University demonstrated in front of the Institute of Biology in Arnimalli. Inside, Michael J. He holds his qualifying lecture. Biology lecturer accused of spreading right-wing ideas in courses. Asta representatives demanded in advance that the G qualification process be terminated. One banner reads: “Expel right-wing ideologies – no studies under right-wing lecturers”.

The dispute over G. has been going on for more than a year. At the heart of the claims is G’s GitHub profile. The portal is popular with programmers. You can make the source code of your apps public here. G, who deals with numerical methods in botany, often refers students on courses to his profile where more material can be found. But there was more out there: Several videos with far-right content were also linked to the profile. Among other things, reference was made to a video of the Austrian anti-Semite Martin Sellner, who heads the youth organization Identity Movement. In 2006, the far-right cross-functional extremist received a criminal injunction for affixing posters with swastikas to a synagogue.

G. has since deleted the links. In a statement to the department, C stated that they came from a previous job at an American university. At that time, other employees could access the profile and post content under their name. However, since c. He also signed the Joint Declaration 2018, in which intellectuals showed solidarity with neo-Nazi demonstrations. It seems unlikely that someone spoiled the content in G. A representative for Asta, who wanted to be named Michael Melsig, called G’s defense “ridiculous” when “nd” was asked. G. is trying to hide behind his staff. In conversations he could not reasonably distance himself.

When asked “nd” G. speaks of “slander”. He had filed a criminal complaint against Asta. In a statement, he described the allegations as “strange”. He writes, “In short: I am an apolitical person who does not allow himself to be co-opted by either the left or the right.” However, he confirms that he signed the “Joint Declaration 2018”. He sees himself as a victim of a “cancellation culture” through which “research is unified ideologically”. g is not mentioned. that the criticism was not due to his botanical research, but to his conduct in lectures.

In the course of criticism, the FU Student Parliament and the Biology Student Council also published statements directed against G. A year ago, it was said that the department management had assured student representatives that it should not be for G. In fact, it can be seen from his team page that he does not hold Currently no courses. However, it is unclear if this is related to criticism of his own person. On the other hand, Melceg says NG will continue to hold video seminars.

Goran Kristen, press spokesman for the FU president, explains when asked by “nd” that allegations of racism are being investigated, but they do not comment on individual cases. In qualification procedures, personal opinions and attitudes are “neither sought, nor examined, nor punished”. “Fundamentally, the climate of tolerance and rejection of all forms of extremism is part of the federation’s self-image,” Kersten says. “A new chapter of Infamy has been written today,” says Asta Melceg’s rep. “FU calls itself the International Network University – how does that work?” The university acted with little sovereignty in the dispute and met the students’ concerns with “ignorance”.

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For G., the day ends in success: after his submission, the College Board decides to grant him a teaching leave. With twelve yes votes to nine no, the vote was unusually close, according to one participant. Apparently, not only students voted against him, but also representatives of other status groups.