30.04.2020 | Open letter by students with children

Just under 2 weeks ago, the widely announced "creative semester" began at the FU. Anyone who wants to be able to study and who does not want a "missed opportunity" should be offered a "full summer semester", said Günther Ziegler, President of the Freie Universität Berlin in an article in the Tagesspiegel on March 24, 2020:

    We want to create "flexible study and graduation opportunities, and to do so, we want to work with the maximum goodwill that our regulations and legal requirements provide - and, if necessary and justifiable, also with exceptions. [1, translation by AStA FU]

After 2 weeks of "creative semester", not much of this is left than the full summer semester, only online instead of on site at the university.

There have already been situations in which students in online courses, without the knowledge of the students, had their microphones turned on by lecturers, so that private conversations of students could be overheard by the entire course. When asked, the FU's crisis management team stated succinctly that the point of a live course was that students should not do other things on the side.

Since we assume that the university management may have already heard about the nationwide school and daycare closures more than 6 weeks ago, we find such statements grotesque, especially considering we were promised "creative solutions" and "no disadvantages for students" before the start of the semester.
We, as student parents, now demand exactly what we were promised before the semester started: creative solutions, exceptions, maximum goodwill. We also do not need supervision and control. Neither do we want our microphones to be switched on without our consent, nor do we want 30 other people to listen in when we are changing full diapers, mediating escalating sibling quarrels, comforting a bad dream during a nap or accompanying a toddler's tantrum. It is still possible for us to follow a seminar with 100% concentration while we look after our children at home in our mostly small apartments. For the same reasons, it is also not possible for us to provide the weekly homework, as is already required in some seminars and even goes far beyond the respective study and examination regulations nowadays.

At the moment we receive several emails that it is especially difficult for students with children. We also have no idea how it should be possible to take part in online seminars 24/7 at home with a child or several children and to perform all of our services weekly. But we give our best. Various student representatives have warned that there are students who are disadvantaged and be left on their own if you try to get through a semester in such a crisis.

In addition to all the insecurity, frustrated kids at home, home office, etc., it is simply impossible in the current crisis situation to provide weekly homework and to fulfill all attendance obligations in online seminars.

Therefore we demand: keep your word, please be creative. The presence of the university cannot simply be continued online - not without disadvantaging certain groups of students - in this case students with children. Now more than ever, it is necessary to suspend regular and active participation in all online courses at the FU for the summer semester 2020 in order to ensure the compatibility of studying and family care responsibilities.

Claim your rights! Even if you feel left alone at the moment, you are not. Please report your experiences and problems to the Counseling Service for Students with Children at the AStA FU! We are and will continue to be there for you and help you with tips, tricks, information and competent support for your concerns.

Counseling for students with children at the AStA FU

Contact and information for advice: https://www.astafu.de/beratung/studismitkind

[1] https://www.tagesspiegel.de/wissen/uni-mit-minimalem-praesenzbetrieb-kann-klappen-auf-ins-kreativsemester/25677680.html, Off into the creative semester, Günter M. Ziegler, 24.03.2020