Sur­prise, ques­tion­ing, or even qui­et des­per­a­tion can be seen in many faces when stu­dents are hand­ed a fist­ful of bal­lots at the annu­al uni­ver­si­ty elec­tions. While vot­ing online will spare us that sight, the need for infor­ma­tion remains the same. So here you will find what the var­i­ous bod­ies stand for and to what extent stu­dents’ voic­es have an impact. 

Four uni­ver­si­ty groups come togeth­er at the tables of the Sen­at (Sen­ate) and the Fakultät­sräte (Fac­ul­ty Coun­cils): pro­fes­sors, aca­d­e­m­ic staff, stu­dents, and non-aca­d­e­m­ic staff. How­ev­er, their pow­er is dis­trib­uted uneven­ly: While pro­fes­sors hold the absolute major­i­ty of the seats in each body, stu­dents get bare­ly a fifth of the total num­ber. Along­side the uni­ver­si­ty bod­ies men­tioned above, there are the stu­dent bod­ies: Studieren­den­rat (Stu­dent Coun­cil) and Fach­schaft­sräte (Stu­dent Fac­ul­ty Coun­cils). In these, stu­dents are basi­cal­ly among their own, but that means their deci­sion pow­er is lim­it­ed to them­selves, too. 

Illus­tra­tion: Arno Grabolle

In the Sen­at, deputies of pro­fes­sors, staff, and stu­dents delib­er­ate and decide on fun­da­men­tal uni­ver­si­ty mat­ters. They have the final say when it comes to open­ing or clos­ing aca­d­e­m­ic pro­grammes or appoint­ing a new pro­fes­sor to a chair. In gen­er­al terms, this is the place where future plans are nego­ti­at­ed. Fakultät­sräte deal with pro­gramme and exam­i­na­tion spec­i­fi­ca­tions, admis­sion pro­ce­dures, sug­gest­ing can­di­dates for pro­fes­sor­ships, and main­tain­ing course offer­ings. When­ev­er a pro­fes­sor­ship is to be renewed, the respec­tive Fakultät­srat elects the mem­bers of the appoint­ment com­mit­tee. These com­mit­tee mem­bers may include pro­fes­sors, staff, and stu­dents who have not been elect­ed into the Fakultätsrat. 

The Studieren­den­rat (or “Stu­ra”) and the Fach­schaft­sräte are bod­ies of the Studieren­den­schaft, a legal enti­ty to which all stu­dents of a uni­ver­si­ty belong unless they have declared their with­draw­al. Besides deal­ing with high­er edu­ca­tion pol­i­cy, these stu­dent bod­ies shall rep­re­sent the cul­tur­al, social, study field relat­ed, and eco­nom­ic inter­ests of their mem­bers. This means, on the one hand, that they are func­tion­ing as a stu­dent voice towards the uni­ver­si­ty, state-lev­el politi­cians, and the gen­er­al pub­lic. On the oth­er hand, they offer prac­ti­cal help, for exam­ple through legal coun­selling, an emer­gency fund, and a child­care room. More­over, they organ­ise events and spon­sor stu­dent projects. Fach­schaft­sräte offer assis­tance and medi­a­tion in case of study-relat­ed issues, too. They are the bod­ies of the Fach­schaften (Stu­dent Fac­ul­ties), sub­di­vi­sions of the Studieren­den­schaft, which are how­ev­er not always cor­re­spond­ing to the fac­ul­ty struc­ture. For both tra­di­tion­al and prac­ti­cal rea­sons, there can be more than one Fach­schaft with­in one fac­ul­ty, or a sin­gle Fach­schaft can include stu­dents from more than one fac­ul­ty. The Stu­ra of MLU, togeth­er with three more stu­dent coun­cils (of Burg Giebichen­stein, Merse­burg, and Anhalt), exerts some influ­ence on the Stu­den­ten­werk Halle. This pub­lic organ­i­sa­tion offers a range of stu­dent ser­vices in the region, includ­ing cafe­te­rias and dor­mi­to­ries. Each Stu­ra gets to appoint one of the stu­dent mem­bers in the Studentenwerk’s board of directors. 

With­in some Fach­schaften, so-called Insti­tutsgrup­pen (Insti­tute Groups) have emerged. These sub-fac­ul­ty assem­blies are not recog­nised as stu­dent bod­ies but can be likened to stu­dent work groups which are spon­sored by their respec­tive Fach­schaft­srat. If there exists an Insti­tutsgruppe in your depart­ment, you will elect its mem­bers on a sep­a­rate occasion. 

For each body you have a sev­er­al votes, that is, you can vote for more than one per­son. If the bal­lots offer enough options to choose from, pro­por­tion­al vot­ing applies. While you give your votes to indi­vid­ual peo­ple, in the count­ing process the total num­ber of votes for each list will deter­mine how many seats that list will occu­py. The can­di­dates with the most votes with­in each list are pri­ori­tised. How­ev­er, if there is no more than one list on the bal­lot, or if the num­ber of per­sons on the bal­lot does not exceed the num­ber of your votes, plu­ral­i­ty vot­ing applies. In this case, all that counts is the num­ber of votes for each can­di­date. If there are few­er per­sons on the bal­lot than the num­ber of your votes, you may write eli­gi­ble per­sons in the blank fields. 

What makes the Stu­ra elec­tion a lit­tle extra tricky is that it is split into two sep­a­rate bal­lots. One bal­lot lists uni­ver­si­ty-wide can­di­dates who will fill half of the avail­able seats. The oth­er bal­lot fea­tures can­di­dates who run for your elec­tion dis­trict and who will fill the share of the remain­ing seats reserved for this dis­trict, which encom­pass­es either one large or sev­er­al small­er Fachschaften. 

This year’s elec­tions include the equi­ty offi­cers of the uni­ver­si­ty as a whole, of each fac­ul­ty, and of the uni’s cen­tral facil­i­ties. Their job is to pro­mote equal oppor­tu­ni­ties as far as gen­der is con­cerned. For this pur­pose, they offer indi­vid­ual coun­selling as well as advice with­in the struc­tures and bod­ies of the uni­ver­si­ty, they pro­vide infor­ma­tion and they have a vote in appoint­ment com­mit­tees. All mem­bers of the uni­ver­si­ty regard­less of their gen­der are eli­gi­ble to become an equi­ty offi­cer, how­ev­er only female mem­bers (pro­fes­sors, stu­dents, and staff) may vote. As a new rule, equi­ty offi­cers are no longer direct­ly elect­ed, but through the inter­me­di­ary stage of an elec­toral col­lege for each office. Female uni­ver­si­ty mem­bers elect up to twelve mem­bers into these colleges. 

The uni­ver­si­ty has a num­ber of oth­er offi­cers and coun­selling ser­vices for var­i­ous aspects of equal par­tic­i­pa­tion, but none of these per­sons is elect­ed by uni­ver­sal suf­frage. Instead, they are appoint­ed either by the Sen­ate or the Rectorate. 

Illus­tra­tion: Kon­rad Dieterich
Changing sides 

If vot­ing once a year is not enough for you, you may want to run for office your­selves. In order to appear on the bal­lot, you can form a list on your own or togeth­er with oth­er per­sons. This list is offi­cial­ly known as “Wahlvorschlag”, which trans­lates as “vot­ing sug­ges­tion”. The dead­line for this year’s elec­tion has already passed, but just so you know: The appli­ca­tion forms need at least three valid sig­na­tures from sup­port­ers and must arrive in time (about three to four weeks) before the elec­tion date at the university’s Wahlamt (elec­tion office) or at the Stura’s Wahlauss­chuss (elec­tion com­mit­tee), depend­ing on which body you are run­ning for. These places will also answer your ques­tions on the elec­tion pro­ce­dures. Can­di­date lists may or may not use a catch­phrase, and may or may not be loose­ly affil­i­at­ed to a polit­i­cal par­ty. In some Fach­schaft­sräte, polit­i­cal­ly inclined mem­bers are rather uncom­mon, while most can­di­dates run­ning for the Stu­ra or the Sen­ate tend to join a list with some prox­im­i­ty to a party. 

  • Wahlauss­chuss of MLU Stu­ra:
  • Wahlamt of MLU: 
  • This year’s uni­ver­si­ty elec­tions will take place online between Decem­ber 7th, 10 am and Decem­ber 15th, 3 pm. Log into the Löwen­por­tal and look for “Online-Wahlen”.  
  • Are you cur­rent­ly enrolled in a prepara­to­ry class at the Lan­desstu­di­enkol­leg? Then you may vote in the elec­tions of the Studieren­den­rat and the Fach­schaft­srat of Neuphilolo­gien (Mod­ern Lan­guages). How­ev­er, you can’t par­tic­i­pate in the elec­tions of the uni­ver­si­ty bod­ies or equi­ty officers. 
  • Unfor­tu­nate­ly, most of the infor­ma­tion con­cern­ing the elec­tion are avail­able in Ger­man only. As always, if you have ques­tions or prob­lems of any kind, you can con­tact the Stura’s office for inter­na­tion­al stu­dents:
  • You can also write to us, the has­tuzeit edi­tors – your issue or idea might just make it in a future article. 

Trans­lat­ed and adapt­ed from the orig­i­nal Ger­man arti­cle by the author. 

0 0 vote
Arti­cle Rating
Benachrichtige mich bei

Diese Website verwendet Akismet, um Spam zu reduzieren. Erfahre mehr darüber, wie deine Kommentardaten verarbeitet werden.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments