Demands for intersectional anti-discrimination at the UdK

From the AG Intersektionale Antidiskriminierung (AStA Referat für Antidiskriminierung und Interkulturelles, Ausschuss für Antidiskriminierung, Interkulturelle Diversität und Empowerment, Ausschuss für Gleichstellung und Soziales, I.D.A, Interflugs, FSR BK, FSR ARCH)

1. Recognition of disadvantages, structural barriers and intersectional discrimination at the UdK

Within the UdK’s constitution, terms of anti-discrimination, including the formulation of the following forms of discrimination should be laid out: anti-black racism, anti-ziganism, anti-semitism, anti-islamism, colorism, sexism, homophobia, trans-, inter- and queerphobia, misogyny, classism, agism, lookism, exotism, eurocentrism, xenophobia, androcentrism, discrimination because of religion, immigration, gender, ethnicity, race*, language barriers and discrimination against people with disabilities.
*Race is to be understood as a social, political and historical construct based on a white supremacy.

2. Raising internal awareness and actively promoting the principles of intersectionality, diversity and anti-discrimination within the UdK

Intersectionality, diversity and anti-discrimination should be anchored in all areas and structures of the UdK Berlin:
To name a few: teaching contents, teaching methods, artistic practice, scientific work, research, representation in all status groups and decision-making bodies, especially in all audit-, examination-, admission- and appointment-commissions (Prüfungs-, Zulassungs-, u. Berufungskommissionen) – all colleges, faculties, institutes, committees, boards, bodies, initiatives, administration, physical and mental accessibility, workshop spaces, ateliers and studios, building management etc.

3. Integration of the guiding principles intersectionality, diversity, anti-discrimination in the UdK mission statement (Leitbild) and in the structural plan (Strukturplan)

4. Development of a strategy, entailing effective measures against systematic discrimination, exclusion and social inequalities within the UdK, by facilitating an open exchange with students, teachers, UdK staff and external consultants

Therefore, we encourage everyone across all status groups to join the ‘AG Intersektionale Antidiskriminierung’. In cooperation with existing student initiatives and student bodies, the working group Intersektionale Antidiskriminerung has been established in the last few weeks. We aim to be in close contact with the presidium. At regular meetings, intersectional anti-discriminaton measures for the UdK should be worked on.

5. Establishment of an intersectional anti-discrimination office with full-time professional anti-discrimination bodies with expertise and own experience in relation to the respective forms of discrimination

5.1 Establishment of four additional intersectional anti-discrimination bodies for anti-racism, anti-classism, anti-ableism and queer, inter, trans and non binary
In addition to the position of the Frauen*beauftragten four further anti-discriminaTion bodies for anti-racism, anti-classism, anti-ableism and queer, inter, trans and non binary should be implemented with a postcolonial perspective. In case of multiple afflictions the anti-discrimination bodies must work together closely, as §27 Abs.5 AGG (Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz) stipulates.

5.2 Establishment of an intersectional anti-discrimination complaints office in a quick manner
According to the AGG § 13, universities have to set up complaints offices. At the moment, the position of an official student complaints office at the UdK does not exist. The chancellor is the AGG commissioner, therefore not responsible for students. The Frauen*beauftragte has their main focus on anti-sexism. This leaves the student body with the AStA Referat for anti-discrimination and intercultural affairs, the student initiative I.D.A (Intersectionality. Diversity. Anti-discrimination), the student councils and the intercultural mentoring to take over the contact point for students with discrimination experiences. However, since such experiences and situations within the UdK have to be considered and dealt with in a structural manner, it is no longer viable to leave this responsibility to unqualified and unpaid students. The load of responsibility to support those affected emotionally and legally weighs heavily on the shoulders of the mentioned students. Therefore, we urge the presidium to establish a short-term intersectional anti-discrimination complaints office until the demand 5.1 is achieved.

6. Accessibility for everyone in all departments, states and locations of the UdK

The lack of physical accessibility is a structural discrimination against people with
disabilities and is no longer acceptable.

7. Institutional, personnel and financial support in the development of the Diversity Policy

According to the Berlin university contract “Brain City Berlin”, the Berlin universities are obliged to implement diversity policies during the period 2018–2022. The UdK does not have one yet. Unsalaried students and teachers in committees, working groups and initiatives are devoting a lot of their time and energy in addition to all other tasks for purposes of anti-discrimination that are legally required. Most of the below mentioned groups are doing critical unpaid labour, working overtime or work that is paid by students. This must stop. These structures are recreating those of structural discrimination.
The presidium must offer institutional, personnel and financial support to:

  • StuPa Ausschuss für Interkulturelle Diversität, Empowerment und Antidiskriminierung
  • StuPa Ausschuss für Gleichstellung und Soziales
  • AStA Referat für Antidiskriminierung und Interkulturelles
  • AStA Referat für Soziales
  • I.D.A (Intersectionality. Diversity. Anti-discrimination)
  • Interflugs
  • Common Ground
  • UdK 2030 Gender und Diversity AG
  • Kommission für Chancengleichheit
  • AG Critical Diversity
  • Rat für Vielfalt und Gleichberechtigung
  • Frauen*beauftragte
  • Interkulturelles Mentoring (Studium Generale)

7.1 Implementation of a university-wide participatory process for a needs assessment and facilitating inclusive discussions on anti-discrimination
(surveys, collecting experiences of discrimination, workshops, UdK 2030 and other

7.2 Budget development for intersectional anti-discrimination
We urge the presidium to acquire funding, to obtain third-party funds and to hold the senate accountable in regards to funding intersectional anti-discrimination work. In the next step, a budget plan for anti-discrimination should be determined. According to the Allgemeine Gleichbehandlungs- and the Landesantidiskriminierungsgesetz anti-discrimination work is legaly required. Anti-discrimination is essential for life and work at the UdK for all staff and students, therefore for our society and shouldn’t be questioned. It’s a matter of urgency to secure a budget for long term sustainable structures as opposed to short term projects.

7.3 Reduction of teaching hours for teachers involved (Lehrabminderung) and facilitation of studies for students involved in anti-discrimination work (Studienerleichterung) by, for example, crediting points for volunteer work

8. Policy-oriented research

In order to make anti-discrimination and equality policies more inclusive and in order to address structural inequalities more effectively policy-oriented research must be conducted via surveys and monitoring. While the UdK has an outside reputation as a diverse and international university, we have to critically examine this picture with an inward-looking perspective. Unfortunately, we notice that only a limited diversity is practiced at our university. Statistical representation of diversity is a complex process that exposes the foundations of societies and their political decisions. The current UdK performance report (Leistungsbericht 2018) for example shows the gap between the racial diversity and the way the UdK perceives itself and is represented in official and social statistics. If we look at the performance report (UdK Leistungsbericht 2018) it becomes clear that there is only a distinction between “women” and “foreigners”. Thus, there is close to no evidence of an intersectional approach. According to the performance report, 32% of students fall into the category “foreigner”. The remaining 68% are therefore generally referred to as German students. However, this does not reflect the composition of society in Berlin / Germany. This means that marginalization takes place within the UdK.

8.1 We demand the presidium to conduct policy-oriented research in cooperation with organizations in this field of expertise such as the Center for Intersectional Justice Berlin and the Diversity Arts Culture Berlin

8.2 Data and statistics on the social compositions of status groups on all degree and career levels and departments within the UdK must represent the actual social composition in the respective areas of the UdK

9. Representation of BIPoC, LGBTQAI+ people and people with disabilities in all status groups

9.1 Grants and support programmes to support students who have experienced discrimination and students in precarious legal and financial situations

9.2 Ensuring equal opportunities for BIPoC, LGBTQAI+ candidates and candidates with dissabilities in application / appointment procedures, e.g. through the participation of the anti-discrimination agents. Furthermore, through each application procedure a certain percentage share of all applicants must be BIPoC, LGBTQAI+ candidates and candidates with disabilities. The percentage share should offer a sincere reflection of Berlin’s diversity

9.3 Active communication channels addressing BIPoC in local schools and communities as well as at global level to reduce barriers to entry

9.4 Active alliances and solidarity cooperation with other universities, non-profit associations, etc., which commit themselves to or advocate the goals and measures described above in a similar way

10. Implementation of the ‘cascade model’ not only for women, but also for other forms of intersectional discrimination (trans, inter and non-binary, BiPoC and people with disabilities)

11. Reserved seats in the StuPa (student parliament) for marginalized students (percentage share)

This should also be reflected in the decision-making bodies of the University.

12. Critical examination of course contents and teaching methods on racism and all other forms of discrimination

At faculty and institute level all course contents and methods should be collectively critically questioned on discrimination prior to the beginning of each semester. All learning processes and contents should be filtered from perpetuating colonialism, patriarchy and capitalism.
Panels of external-consultants can provide mandatory suggestions for programme changes, guest-lecturers or research suggestions for cutting-edge globally relevant programmes in each faculty. These panels should be made up of people with disabilities, BIPoC, immigrants, LGBTQAI+ people who are socially engaged artists or working in the specific fields of art and culture.

13. Regular mandatory intersectional anti-discrimination training and qualification measures for all status groups

We demand awareness training and qualification measures in particular for the teaching staff, university management and university administration of the UdK (especially for Zulassungs- and Berufungskommissionen) which should be held at least every semester (i.e. critical whiteness workshops).

14. Expansion of the course offers for all students in all degree programmes and levels in favor of intersectional anti-discrimination

14.1 Mandatory intersectional anti-discrimination courses for all students in all degree programs and levels should be implemented
They should be part of basic training and be assessed with credit points.

14.2 Increasing integration of postcolonial studies, gender studies and intersectional feminist studies in all degree programmes and levels

14.3 Establishment of empowerment-workshops for all students (including first semester students), teaching staff and UdK administration and management

15. Detailed easy accessible annual publication of an intersectional anti-discrimination report on the website of the UdK with a listing of all positions, organs and initiatives working for anti-discrimination

According to the Allgemeinen Gleichbehandlungsgesetz (AGG) § 12, universities have the duty to inform students, teachers and all employees of the university about their rights and their options for action.

16. Increased funding / improved distribution of funding and resources for the International Office to provide better understanding and support the vulnerable situation of international students (language barrier, financial insecurity, extreme study/work conditions, lack of information of the German bureaucracy)

16.1 Empowerment trainings offered through the International Office

16.2 Providing legal advice and working as a mediator between Landesamt für Einwanderung and the international students

16.3 Staffing the International Office with people who have experienced racism themselves and therefore can work with international students in a self aware manner that is critical of racism

16.4 Free German courses offered through the International Office for students and staff! German courses should be part of the course catalogue.

17. Own cost free Counselling Service (support and accompaniment in emotional and psychological health care)

To counter the effects of structural discrimination it is important to be aware of the mental health impact. The Studierendenwerk already offers psychological-psychotherapeutic counselling. However, this counselling offer is insufficient: appointments are only made with excessively long waiting times; forms of therapy are very outdated; counselling is not offered in a sufficient number of languages.

18. Right to ‘access to information / right to information’ at the UdK at all times

We believe that access to information, the ability for an individual to seek, receive and impart information effectively is crucial for a discrimination free UdK. Unfortunately, this is only partially the case at the UdK. Internal information at the UdK is by degrees difficult to find at all.

18.1 All internal and external communication at the UdK must be held in German and English (website, email, events, informations)

18.2 The path of information on all channels of the UdK to the individual must be made easy and accessible for students at the UdK and for those who are interested in studying at the UdK

19. Establishment of a research center for current global issues on social justice

This organ should constantly react to current global events and thereby increase the awareness and knowledge of engaging around the above mentioned matters.

Intersectional anti-discrimination is a life-long process. Educate yourself. The responsibility lies in your hands to do better everyday and everywhere. Speak up against discrimination. Reach out.

These demands were written by: AG Intersektionale Antidiskriminierung (AStA Referat für Antidiskriminierung und Interkulturelles @asta_udk_berlin, Ausschuss für Antidiskriminierung, Interkulturelle Diversität und Empowerment, Ausschuss für Gleichstellung und Soziales, I.D.A @ida.udk, Interflugs @interflugs, FSR BK, FSR ARCH @fsr.arch.udk)

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