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Communication & Petition: Hands off the civil clause!

Hesse-wide call for civilian sciences & Education! Against the militarization of the university!

Almost two years after the invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops in violation of international law
and the German government's subsequent proclamation of a "turning point", the drastic
narrowing of the focus to military logic is a seemingly immovable maxim, which is now openly
intended to lead to a society-wide "readiness for war", both materially and mentally
. As scientists and students, we know that today, as in the past, no war
can be waged without the involvement of science. A historically aware look
makes it clear that global military armament always also means a technological
arms race in the competition for the most sophisticated means of violence.

Following the frequent attacks on the
civilian clauses at over 70 higher education and research institutions in the Federal Republic [1]
during the last political summer slump in the media, the Hessian Minister President Boris Rhein (CDU) now seems to be taking action with his
upcoming re-election. The current negotiations between the CDU
and SPD in Hesse on a coalition agreement apparently include the deletion of the civil clauses anchored at three
Hessian universities and colleges. This is hardly
surprising when you consider the
promises made by the Minister President during the state election campaign to the local armaments giants. There
Rhein already postulated promising conditions, possibly also unrestricted
access to public institutions, in keeping with the spirit of the armament zeitgeist.[2] Whatever
form this intervention in the democratic self-administration of universities might take, it
would be a militaristic intervention in the civilian university and research landscape either way,
which would be unprecedented in the history of the Federal Republic. Civil clauses are the result of
democratic debates at universities. They were fought for by students,
researchers and teaching staff and adopted by the self-governing bodies!

However, the militaristic "turn of an era" is coming up against a public university landscape in a
desolate state: there is a backlog of renovation work to repair German
universities, estimated at over 70 billion euros [3]. In Marburg, the
roof of a lecture hall recently collapsed [4], entire departments have been filing for bankruptcy for years [5],
precarious employment conditions at public universities continue to be the bitter daily routine
for mid-level academic staff and student assistants [6] and the psychosocial situation
of students has been worsening for years. [7] The economization of higher education and
research in recent decades is by no means a success story - further
intensification is not a solution, but rather cements its causes! This real and for all
obvious problem situation of universities and their members is not granted a special fund
of 100 billion. On the contrary, a militaristic intensification of the
dependency on third-party funding prevents a future-oriented
development of the entire higher education landscape that is oriented towards the common good.[8] Under the current
budgetary conditions with debt brakes in the federal and state governments, billions for
armaments and militarization mean a further cutback of the welfare state and thus also of the
basis for research and teaching oriented towards the common good.


We want a civilian higher education landscape that makes it its mission to confront the global crises
internationally and cooperatively and thus follows the forward-looking mandate of the UN's
global community with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is precisely such an
orientation that forms the basis of sciences whose purpose is to research the causes
and develop humanistic solutions to the climate crisis, wars, flight
and displacement and global social misery! Civil clauses create the
scientific freedom to be able to fulfill precisely this mission. [9] Because the
involvement of the sciences in war, especially in Germany, has a dark
history: In both world wars, it was German scientists who were instrumental in the
barbaric quality of the means of violence for German colonialism, total war and
holocaust. After the liberation by the Allies, this involvement
was significantly taken into account in the Basic Law.

Freedom of science (Article 5 (3) of the Basic Law) in the light of the principle of the welfare state (Article 20 (1) of the Basic Law) and the fundamental peace finality of the Basic Law form the basis for free science and teaching with responsibility for society as a whole. Social progress in the sense of human dignity (Article 1 of the Basic Law) in harmony with ecologically sustainable and
peace-oriented global development - this is the future-oriented purpose of a
university that is committed to the realization of the Basic Law

We demand: hands off the civil clause!

  • No militarization of public schools, universities and research institutions in Hesse and everywhere!
  • For the civilian orientation of science & teaching and the necessary public funding!
  • Strengthen the essence of the civil clause among students, researchers and teachers for the
    education and empowerment of a responsible, social and
    democratic person to think critically!
  • Dare more democracy! Promotion and expansion of democratic self-administration
    of universities through comprehensive equal involvement and participation committees of all university members.

First signatories:
- Hessian State Conference of Students
- Initiative "Universities for Peace - Yes to the Civil Clause!"
- Association of Democratic Women Scientists (BdWi)
- Free Association of Student Unions (fzs. e.V.)

Flyer - Civil clause

Press release - LandesAStenKonferenz Hessen

Petition - Civil clause