Freiberg University of Technology is a cosmopolitan place. Diversity of opinion and international exchange have always been the basis of our research and teaching activities.
The academic discourse between students and academics regardless of their origin, nationality, faith, gender or sexual orientation is a matter of course for us; we stand against any form of discrimination or belittlement. We refer to the constitutional principles of freedom of research and teaching and see their protection as a constant obligation. We therefore also call for the constitutional principles of parliamentary democracy and the rule of law, and thus in particular the dignity of every human being, to be protected against attacks. We hereby express our deeply felt disapproval of xenophobia, violence and intolerance.
Nationwide campaign against xenophobia
The universities that are members of the German Rectors' Conference (HRK), including TU Bergakademie Freiberg, have launched a nationwide campaign against xenophobia in Germany.
"Universities are cosmopolitan places. Diversity of opinion and international exchange are the basis of their research and teaching activities. In view of the currently recognisable increase in xenophobic tendencies, universities feel called upon to stand up for these values," explained HRK President Prof. Dr Horst Hippler in the HRK press release. In this phase, we need clear commitments and decisive action by the majority of the population in favour of a tolerant and cosmopolitan society. Beyond all political discussions about the challenges arising from the influx of refugees, this consensus must be clearly articulated.
For TU Bergakademie Freiberg, too, regional roots and internationality belong together. Around 5,500 young people study in Freiberg - around 18 per cent of whom come from abroad. Students from over 60 countries of various denominations and cultures have found a second home in the university town. "As a university, we exemplify cosmopolitanism and tolerance," explained the Rector. Many of the foreign students have come to Freiberg because of the excellent national and international reputation of the Bergakademie. For centuries, the university has not only attracted students from Saxony and other federal states, but also from abroad. To ensure that this remains the case, it is important that the university and the city continue to demonstrate this openness.
"Freiberg not only offers our students a modern university with a special familiar charm, but also a diverse cultural environment," said the Rector. This is demonstrated, for example, by the Festival of Cultures, which is being held in Freiberg for the 13th time on 8 November. People from different backgrounds present their culture at the festival. Highlights include, for example, a Vietnamese dragon dance, international songs and dances as well as a buffet with typical international dishes. The festival is organised by the "One World and Integration" working group of the Freiberg Agenda 21 e.V. The city of Freiberg, the district of Central Saxony, the TU Bergakademie Freiberg and numerous international restaurants, companies and private individuals support the event.
No place for anti-Semitism
The Senate of TU Bergakademie Freiberg strongly supports the initiative of the General Assembly of the German Rectors' Conference HRK against anti-Semitism.
"TU Freiberg is also opposed to all forms of anti-Semitism. Our professors, staff and students stand for an open-minded university, tolerance and equality and thus against any form of discrimination," explains the Senate.
Jewish life on campus must not be jeopardised; Jewish researchers, teaching staff and students must be able to feel safe at all universities. Research on anti-Semitism, its origins and its effects, corresponding offers in studies and teaching as well as the transfer of knowledge to multipliers and decision-makers are of the utmost importance for successfully combating anti-Semitism.
German universities are centres of democratic culture, places of dialogue and sites of diversity. With the campaign "Weltoffene Hochschulen gegen Fremdenfeindlichkeit" (Open-minded universities against xenophobia), universities have already set an example and called for clear commitments and decisive action in favour of a tolerant and open-minded society. In addition, universities in Germany have a special historical responsibility to resolutely oppose all forms of anti-Semitism.
In memory of the victims of National Socialism who lived and worked in Freiberg, so-called "Stolpersteine" (stumbling stones) can be found on Burgstraße (see banner image). The "stones against forgetting" commemorate the terrible events of anti-Semitism in the past.