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Anti-Semitism scandal: TU supervisory board sticks with president

Anti-Semitism scandal: TU supervisory board sticks with president

What will happen to the president of Berlin’s Technical University after accusations of anti-Semitism: will she resign or be voted out? The supervisory board has met and has reached a different conclusion.

The supervisory board of the Technical University of Berlin is sticking with university president Geraldine Rauch following accusations of anti-Semitism. The board of trustees has spoken out in favor of supporting her in a “constructive and critical” manner in her announced new beginning.

“Although the president has caused a lot of damage to the TU Berlin through her misconduct, she should nevertheless be given the chance to successfully implement the program she has offered to strengthen trust in the TU Berlin and to preserve its tradition as a cosmopolitan, tolerant and anti-racist university,” the university said. The “Tagesspiegel” newspaper previously reported.

The university committee has therefore refrained from calling for the resignation or recommending that the president be voted out of office. The Central Council of Jews criticized this. “The support of the majority of the TU Berlin board of trustees for Professor Rauch shows the lack of responsibility and awareness of the problem with regard to anti-Semitism.” The result will be an unforeseeable loss of reputation at the TU. Downplaying the support of Israel hatred and anti-Semitism is depressing, explained a spokesman. The Central Council had already called on Rauch to face personal consequences.

Rauch has no anti-Semitic prejudices

The board of trustees attested that Rauch had made a mistake out of “negligence”. Her remorse convinced the board members. “The board of trustees is also firmly convinced that Ms. Rauch does not harbor, sympathize with or support any anti-Semitic prejudices. A critical attitude towards the current actions of the Israeli government is legitimate and in no way anti-Semitic, regardless of whether one shares this criticism or not.”

The president of the TU is under criticism because she “liked” at least one anti-Semitic post on the X platform in the context of the Gaza war. In particular, this was a post with photos of demonstrators holding up a picture of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a swastika painted on it. According to the director of the Anne Frank Education Center, Meron Mendel, such an equation relativizes the Holocaust.

Rauch apologized and explained that she had liked the post because of its text and had not looked closely at the image posted underneath. Last week she declared that she wanted to remain in office, although a narrow majority of the Academic Senate had voted in favor of her resignation. Rauch applied to the Berlin Science Administration for disciplinary proceedings against herself in order to enable an objective investigation of the allegations.

Board of Trustees expects review including report in one year

The supervisory board opposed the “sometimes aggressive accusations against Ms Rauch”. At the same time, the committee disapproved of Rauch’s “blatant misconduct” which had “led to increased polarization within the university”. It is now up to Rauch to restore internal peace at the TU and to launch a program against racism and anti-Semitism. A progress report is to be presented within a year at the latest.

Source: Stern

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