BM86: No to Berlin’s Ordnungsrecht – Effective  prevention instead of symbolic punitive measures

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The measures sought by the Berlin state government to punish students who are allegedly or actually guilty of offenses on or off campus pose a considerable threat to academic freedom and the human right to education. A reaction to a partly violent occupation and the attack on a Jewish student at the end of last year and the beginning of this year was and is urgently needed. However, providing a catalog of  punishments is neither suitable nor appropriate for this purpose. The stricter reintroduction of the disciplinary law should therefore be rejected. It is a repressive instrument that provides universities with extrajudicial instruments of punishment and represents a remnant of the powers of universities from feudal times.  

Regulatory law harbors the danger of making any undesired protest impossible. This could include actions spanning from putting up posters to occupying lecture halls. Not every form of protest is legitimate or must be tolerated. Nevertheless, any response must always be carefully weighed against academic freedom and every student’s individual right to education. The state government’s proposal fails to fulfill this maxim. 

It also fails to achieve the ostensible goal of making campuses safer. The retrospective punitive measures, which range from official reprimands and exclusion  from courses to exmatriculation, do not prevent criminal offenses and do not protect  individual students from assaults. Especially, exmatriculation is only to take effect after conviction in a regular criminal trial and completion of HEI-internal  

disciplinary proceedings – presumably long after the original offense. During this  time, actual offenders can continue to attend the university unhindered and, in the  worst case, commit further crimes. However, people cannot be deprived of their right  to education in addition to being punished in a court case. The deprivation of  fundamental rights can only take place in extreme emergencies and in defense of other  fundamental rights. It must never be a mere punishment for an unrelated offense. 

The reintroduction of the law of order is therefore only one thing: an attempt by the  Berlin Senate to present itself as a law and order government that takes tough action  against ruffans, endangering any protest regardless of its orientation and not making campuses one step safer. 

We are therefore in solidarity with the student representatives who are clearly  speaking out against the planned law and the repressive actionism of the Berlin state government. 


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