Freiburg: Press Release by Students Occupying the Audimax! (15.12.2016)

Audimax besetzt

Since Wednesday, 9.30 pm, students at the University of Freiburg have occupied the Audimax. The reason for the protest is the planned introduction of tuition fees for non-EU and second degree students in Baden-Württemberg.

In 2009, there have been similar, massive protests against general tuition fees in Freiburg. Using the hashtag #freiburgbrennt (#freiburgburns), protesters tried to raise awareness and occupied the Audimax for 3.5 weeks.

One of the members of the press office stated that back then, they fought hard to abolish tuition fees and they will not allow their reintroduction by the back door now. Tuition fees are unacceptable, no matter who or how many people are concerned. Studying cannot be a privilege.

The bill proposed by the state government includes a fee of 1500 € per semester for non-EU students as well as 650 € per semester for second degree students. This introduction of tuition fees takes place in a time where both in politics and society, foreigners are rejected by certain groups.

According to Tobi, who is part of the occupation committee, it is cynical that a green minister for economic affairs demands the reintroduction of tuition fees after their previous abolition. Such a policy does not promote internationalization but reinforces the European isolation by introducing discriminating measures.

Students in Baden-Württemberg are confronted with various problems. Constantly increasing rents, high cost of living and restriction of free studies pose insurmountable obstacles for many. On top of that, international students face additional costs, for example for visas or language courses. The planned implementation of tuition fees will make studying in Baden-Württemberg impossible for numerous people. This will increase the already existing international inequality in education.

Jonathan, a member of the press office, adds that tuition fees are discriminating and not solidary; the protesters offer an open space for discussion to everyone and look forward to signs of solidarity.

Therefore, we ask the president Hans-Jochen Schiewer to use this open space to enter into discussion with us. We furthermore ask the Senate and Office of the President to position themselves against tuition fees in general and to those proposed in the bill. Moreover, we call upon all delegates to the state parliament to vote against the bill.

We invite everyone to join our protest and to actively participate in the events. The occupation will continue for as long as the assembly considers appropriate.