By Jake Camarena
Campus Kleve–In Building 04 on the second floor behind the Senate Hall closed doors, the HSRW president read her resignation statement to the public and Senate members during the Senate Meeting on 25 April.
Approximately 25 people entered the room through the double doors. Some people were already seated. The president sat at the center of the U-shaped table.
Senate members such as staff, professors and students sat down at the table around the president and placed a name placard in front of them. Those without a formal invite stood around the table. The meeting began.
“I want to say this in English for all students who are here,” said HSRW President, Dr. Heide Naderer. “I cannot move forward with the current divide. So on Monday [23 April] I offered my resignation.”
Naderer says that she could not possibly achieve the university goals within the current context. She says that she offered to speak to those in conflict with her since December 2017.
“I offered twice to meet with the conflicting parties and was denied twice,” Naderer said. “The last round took place with the Deans who tried to identify the problem. I could not get a precise understanding of the base of the conflict.”
After Naderer spoke, the moderator opened the floor for questions and comments from attendees. The room remained quiet for about 30 seconds. Then, some of the Senate members began to raise their hands to speak.
“I’m convinced that those unnamed people are not going to stop us resolve issues,” Professor Petra Biligen Heinecke said. “If we continue to keep people unknown, how can we in a democratic society fix these issues?”
Some attendees begun to knock in unison on the table or the wall as a sign of agreement with Heinecke’s statement. A single cameraman walked the room through the crowd snapping dozens of photos of different people as they discussed why the president of the university should or should not quit.
“There are atleast two parties, always,” Professor Gregor van der Beek said. “Both sides can speak, and should speak.”
The meeting moderator stood from his chair to guide the discussion in another direction. He says that the group should discuss whether to continue the conversation regarding Naderer’s offered resignation in public or move to a closed-door meeting. Meaning, should all of the people huddled at the door or leaning against the wall leave the room.
The Senate members took a vote at that point to either continue the meeting in public or move to a closed-door discussion. The Senate majority voted for a closed-door meeting and, as a result, the president’s resignation discussion will continue at a later time and date. After the vote, the moderator asked if there were any questions or comments. AStA Chair Heather Ventresco raised her hand.
“Some people look down their nose because we are a hochschule,” Ventresco said. “Some people look down their nose because we are a very young hochschule.”
No one spoke and Ventresco continued. She noted that this is the third president the university has had in a 5 years.
What does this revolving door of administrators say about us?” Ventresco said. “This will not help students in the job market, especially those who plan to stay in [North Rhine-Westphalia]. Is there a plan or strategy for what to do next? I am open to an answer from anyone.”
No one addressed the questions or comments directly. Although most of the Senate meetings are held in German, this meeting was held in German and English so that the international students could understand what was being said, according to Dr. Naderer.
Senate meetings are held periodically on Wednesdays in Building 4 on the second floor in the Senate Hall. Invitations are sent only to Senate members, but all students are welcome to attend the public meetings.
The Senate consists of 25 voting members: 10 professors, 5 scientific staff, 5 non-scientific staff and 5 students. There are also 15 non-voting members: Executive Board, Deans, Equal Opportunity Commissioner, Representative of disabled members of the University, the Academic Staff Council Chair, the Non-Academic Staff Council Chair and the AStA Chair.
In case there are questions regarding the time and place of these meetings, students can email email@example.com for more information.