Statement on the allegations of racism

Statement on the allegations of racism

On Tuesday, 31 March 2015, representatives of the StuRa were granted access to relevant e-mail correspondence between Dr Beck-Sickinger and the student from India who had accused her of racism. This measure was necessary since the university did not want to meet our request to reveal the complete e-mail correspondence, which would have led to full transparency. However, we finally decided to accept the option of access being granted to certain StuRa members, as this allowed us to verify the plausibility of the statements made so far by the Rector Dr Schücking and Dr Beck-Sickinger, at least from the point of view of the Student_innenRat.


It should have been natural, especially for a university that strives for the “internationalisation” of teaching and research, that a case of a lecturer being suspected of racism would be resolved as quickly as possible and in a transparent manner. In addition, this incident took place in a social climate in which hundreds of people are still participating in the Legida “walks”. Racism must not be seen as something marginal, something outside of and not constituted by social power structures. We expressly welcomed the fact that Leipzig University had dissociated itself from the racist activities of recent weeks. However, where the allegations against Professor Beck-Sickinger were concerned, this formal distancing did not lead to a practical university policy in the form of a comprehensive solution which was transparent to the general public. This is a shame, and it has led to the public perception that there was something to hide. The indiscriminate media coverage also played a part in this.


After being granted access to the e-mail correspondence, the Student_innenRat presents its views on the case as follows:


Following a formal rejection for an internship from Dr Beck-Sickinger, the Indian student in question harshly accused Dr Beck-Sickinger of rejecting him from the internship for racial reasons. What follows is a very emotional e-mail correspondence, during which Dr Beck-Sickinger explains her views on the situation of women in India.


However, we can confirm from this that the e-mail correspondence did not take place in the way it was portrayed by the media at the beginning of the debate, since it has been considerably manipulated. Consequently, the allegation of rejection from the internship based on structural racism is untenable.


Nonetheless, Dr Beck-Sickinger should not have reacted in such a way to the Indian student’s accusations, especially with regard to the existing wide-ranging cooperation with international students. We hope that all parties from Leipzig University will work harder in the future towards a clarification which would be transparent to the general public when it comes to such university matters, and avoid exacerbating the situation with questionable media behaviour.


2015/04/07 - 9:32am

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