NOW: Elections for Student Parliament and the Academic Senate
At the university and at the Studienkolleg
Current university elections are taking place during a phase of historical decisions. A new direction for global development must be implemented to ensure successful lives for all. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer. In contrast to this well-known adage, there has been an movement akin to an awakening in a variety of different countries, towards a future-worth-living – in Latin America, Iran, Sudan, in Great Britain and increasingly also here in Germany. People are rising up and fighting for social justice, democratic sovereignty, health, environmental protection and peace. Ruling and extreme right-wing politicians are trying to defend their power by creating and supporting anti-social policies, through manipulation, repression and war against legitimate social demands and the liberating courage of the people.
It depends on us all!
The social inequality experienced globally is a violation of all of our dignity. Immense productivity and wealth exist worldwide. This wealth and productivity is already sufficient to ensure everyone is healthy, has access to education, good jobs, housing, culture and science. Nonetheless, in almost every country around the world, the state policy is designed with profit in mind rather than for the people. A dignified life can only be created by the people themselves, put forth from below. This requires cooperative solidary from the many. The university is a crucial forum for this: for creating awareness, scientific knowledge and „movement“.
What is democracy at the university?
The University of Hamburg has democratic committees that can be used for these purposes. These committees are elected assemblies which allow university members to participate in the democratic process. The right for the opportunity to participate in democratic committees has been fought for at the university, accordingly these rights should be taken seriously and taken advantage of by all students!
The highest university body is the Academic Senate (AS). Here, students, professors and non-academic staff decide on the organization and content of studies, teaching and research. The university management is elected through this body. The Academic Senate discusses how better State funding of the university can be achieved politically, whether and how the conditions for studies may be improved, what social responsibility science has, and much more. In addition, the AS makes decisions.
Programs for the election to the academic senate: https://www.uni-hamburg.de/uhh/organisation/stabsstellen/recht/wahlen/as-wahlen.html
Furthermore, through the Constituted Student Body (the entirety of all the students), we have the legal right and the means to engage in student politics: for social and legal improvements here and everywhere. All students elect the student parliament (StuPa). The StuPa in turn elects the Student Parliament Executive Committee (AStA); it should be the organizing center of activity by students for students. Through it we can fight together for „BAföG for All“, for fair asylum and residence rights, for more social housing and affordable transportation just to name a few examples. The student parliament and AStA exist to discuss, prepare, inform and organize such student struggles.
Programs for the election to the student parliament: https://www.stupa.uni-hamburg.de/archiv/03-wahlen/wahl-21-22/wahlzeitung.pdf
What is being decided on?
- Do we wish StuPa and AStA to start solidary campaigns for the clear improvement of the social situation of all or do we only want isolated „help“ and backroom politics for insufficient state „relief“?
- Do we fight together for better funding of education and science as part of a social movement in the city or does resignation, hiding and displacement of problems rule on campus?
- Do we initiate curriculum reform to create motivated learning for personal development in solidarity or should a university program serve only to strengthen an individual’s ability to conform and advance through competition?
- Should the sciences intervene more for the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN or will targeted research aimed at making profit, strengthening the market and military prevail?Does student advocacy succeed in vibrant international solidarity or is it a superficial service, „top-down“ assistance, and exclusive?
- Does student advocacy succeed in vibrant international solidarity or is it a superficial service, „top-down“ assistance, and exclusive?
How to inform yourself and decide?
There are different lists running for both elections. Not all of them are as continuously and committedly active as they claim to be in the election campaign. The important thing is to make an informed vote! There are flyers and programs to help you with this, as well as election newspapers and videos. Often you will see politically active students at information tables, and you can approach them to ask questions. Careful reading of the materials, and open discussion with participants will show you who is serious about what!