Statement on the accusations against Andreas Eckert, professor at the IAAW and lecturer in the Global History Program as well as abuse of power in general at the Humboldt University Berlin

Joint Statement of the RefRat, the faculty student initiative of the IAAW and the AStA of the FU

Dear students, faculty and staff of the Humboldt-Universität,

We would like to take a joint stand as the faculty student initiative of the IAAW and the council of lecturers on the current accusations against Andreas Eckert as well as on the problem of abuse of power at our university. This statement follows on from the previous communication from the RefRat on the case of Dr. Andreas Kohring and underlines our position on this issue.

Following up on our previous efforts in the Causa Dr. Andreas Kohring, we emphasize the need for a continuous reappraisal of the allegations made. An open and self-critical confrontation of the responsible institutions with the structural character of abuse of power at this university is the first step to protect students and employees more effectively and to create a discrimination-free space at HU.

his statement was triggered in particular by an essay published in May 2023, "Survival in Silence: Of Guilt and Grief at the Intersection of Precarity, Exile, and Womanhood in Neoliberal Academia" by Asli Vatansever. In it, the author explicitly and painfully reflects on a physical assault and places it in the context of a *white* and mostly male dominated academic world. Although the perpetrator behind this sexualized assault is not clearly named in the text, it was quickly clear to many members of the institute - it was probably Andreas Eckert.

The current allegations thus concern Prof. Dr. Andreas Eckert, a professor at the IAAW and lecturer in the Global History Program. It is of utmost importance that we as an academic community and as students clearly take the side of those affected against any form of abuse of power and discrimination.

We therefore find the action taken at FU to be correct: The measures taken at Freie Universität with regard to the allegations against Prof. Eckert in the Global History Program to deal with the accusations are a step in the right direction. The immediate release of the lecturer in question from all teaching obligations illustrates the need for swift and appropriate action, including at Humboldt University. Currently, Eckert does not teach on a regular basis, but he repeatedly appears as a guest lecturer in lectures and is a present, influential person at the institute for many students.

Scholarly discussion: Asli Vatansever's scholarly essay impressively highlights the multi-layered challenges related to power structures and abuse in academic settings, as well as intersectional discrimination. It makes clear that such issues need to be explored and discussed at the academic level, especially in light of current allegations. In light of Andreas Eckert's transregional and international significance, we believe it is important to address the incidents of power abuse not only here, but at all universities.

Therefore, we appeal to the Humboldt University: We demand that the responsible authorities take the allegations against the professor in question seriously and process them comprehensively. We demand that all measures and steps be communicated publicly, because transparency is essential. And we demand the dismissal of perpetrators, should the allegations in the room prove to be true and reliable.

Support and open communication: We would like to offer our support to affected individuals and anyone who needs to talk. No incident is too small or insignificant for you not to contact us. The IAAW Faculty student initiative and the Student Council are available to you as a contact point to follow up on further cases, to discuss concerns and to look for solutions together. Of course, all this can be done anonymously, your needs are the focus of our work.

We believe that only through collective efforts and open communication can we achieve change in the way we deal with abuse of power and discrimination at our university. We are committed to doing our part and creating an academic environment that is more safe and equitable for all. 

With regards in solidarity,

RefRat, Faculty student initiative of the IAAW and AStA FU

Contact persons:

RefRat anti-discrimination counseling:

Queer_Feminist Department:

IAAW Faculty student initiative:

Reports on experiences with sexualized violence or assault in current or further cases (also anonymous) to:

Antisexist counseling service AStA FU:

Queerfeminist peer support AStA FU: