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Open Letter to the President of FSU Jena

No Scope for Agitation and Elitism!
Open Letter to the President of Friedrich Schiller University Jena

For less than a year, Professor Walter Rosenthal has been president of Friedrich Schiller University (FSU) Jena, and still he made two questionable decisions within the last two weeks. End of April, he proscribed a discourse on the ethic dimension and necessity of animal testing as part of the university's week of action against animal experiments. His reasoning was that statements within the lecture allegedly serve the "defamation and disparagement of scientists" and that "[the] attitude behind such attacks [...] [can] neither be shared nor adopted by the university". Rather, he claimed that, for this prohibition, "the university's interests outweigh".


Apparently, this reasoning does not hold for an event on asylum policy entitled "Offene Grenzen - Chance! Herausforderung. Gefahr?" ("Open Borders - Opportunity! Challenge. Threat?"), which is supposed to take place at FSU on 12 May. Apart from Clemens Schneider from Prometheus Institute, Stefan Möller is participating at the event, who is a member of Thuringia state parliament for the political party "Alternative für Deutschland" (AfD).

On the one hand, given the dubious organizers, the university group "Freimut" whose poor website barely offers information about the group, the Prometheus Institute acts as a propagandist, whose founder Frank Schaeffler readily contributes to the right-wing paper "eigentümlich frei" (roughly "properly free"). In addition, co-founder Clemens Schneider exploits the fear of migration to demand nothing less than the abolition of the social state, which is guaranteed by Article 20 Paragraph 1 of the German Grundgesetz. Thereby, he effectively claims the abolition of public educational institutions like FSU. Valued are those who have! On the other hand, the AfD's position at this two-person panel will not yield any surprises in terms of refugee and asylum policies either.
The party's latest election manifesto reveals its rightist ideology that attaches residence permits for refugees to economic benefit for Germany and thereby enforces a class society negating the principle of human equality and violating basic human rights. Germany to the Germans!
Furthermore, the AfD party seems unable to generally reject the Pegida movement and its branches that keep proclaiming their nationalist ideas here in Thuringia lately. Instead, they contend that not all protesters are "hardcore Nazis" and that the justified worries of the "ordinary citizen" should be taken seriously.
This March only, Stefan Möller in particular was one of the first to sign the "Erfurter Resolution" that opposes the present soft line of AfD, currying favour with the media and established parties. They demand to acknowledge the aforementioned Nazi events many AfD supporters attend, which they gloss over as "civic protest movements". In addition, they require the termination of so-called "social experiments" like multiculturalism.

Seemingly, these statements do not bother the President of FSU nor do they conflict with university attitudes or interests. Mr Rosenthal apparently values the dignity of scientists more than that of humans, obviously missing the thin line between the two. Upon request, he sees FSU as "a forum for controversial debate, as long as it is held democratically and nonviolently". In case of the week of action against animal testing, though, he states that this guideline did not apply because rooms for the event had not been booked by a university, but an external group. No rules for university groups? A ban on discourse for externals?
Racism is the disparagement of humans to legitimate one's own privileges. The ruler's everlasting struggle for these privileges does not agree with non-violence. The oppressed around the world, in Europe, in Germany experience this violence every day. Physical attacks and direct agitation are only the most apparent manifestations. We fully support controversial debate - unless it is based on ideologies of inequality like racism, elitism, Social Darwinism, thus based on violence!

Refugees who according to AfD doctrine should never have been able to come to Germany and who according to Clemens Schneider should never receive government support are part of Jena University, too. The right of asylum is not negotiable! The right to live is not negotiable!

We, the Department for Intercultural Exchange of the Students' Council of FSU Jena, object and counter misanthropic positions. Along with all others who signed this letter, we shall not stand back, and we shall not watch the defamation and disparagement of humans at our university.

Supporters:
Int.Ro - Referat für Interkulturellen Austausch StuRa FSU Jena
Referat für Menschenrechte im StuRa FSU Jena
AK International Students
Grüne Jugend Jena
Intergrün – Ökologische Linke
Juso-HSG Jena
GEW-Studis Jena
DieLinke.SDS Jena
Linksjugend venceremos Jena
Emanzipatorische-Linke-Liste (e-l-li)
Kulturreferat des Studierendenrates der FSU Jena
Referat gegen gruppenbezogene Menschenfeindlichkeit des Studierendenrates der FSU Jena
Arbeitskreis Politische Bildung des Studierendenrates der FSU-Jena
AK Promotionsstudierende des StuRa FSU
Arbeitskreis Wissenschaftskritik des StuRa FSU
Zugvögel Jena e.V.