Is the university really as enlightened as it seems?

From Alina Schmidt and Stella Zimmermann

“Nazis out” stickers on laptops, anti-racism workshops and international cooking evenings – to the outside world, German universities seem to be a discrimination-free and enlightened place. Some would say: a place that is too “woke”.

However, the university remains a white space: There are hardly any professors of colour and students of colour are met with subliminal racist hostility. From early on it’s very difficult for PoCs to pursue an academic career. Social inequality primarily affects people with a migration background: Because of a discriminatory school system, fewer study at German universities. They are often not accepted to secondary school to obtain their degree for higher education. 

That’s why Stella and Alina are set to find answers: Does racism exist in everyday university life and what can there possibly be done against it? Why is there hardly any data on the everyday life of students of colour? What does it really look like for students of colour and why are profs of colour underrepresented?

In order to find an answer to all these questions in the podcast, we talked to various people. Among others, with Dr. Jennifer Chan de Avila, who has been doing lectures and research on the topic of critical diversity and intersectionality in higher education at the Otto Suhr Institute in Berlin. Student Paul Abadie shares his experiences as a PoC at a French university and Prof. Dr. Nausikaa Schirilla, Professor of Social Work with a focus on intercultural competence and migration at the Catholic University of Applied Sciences in Freiburg, talks about how racism manifests itself at universities and what can be done about it. 

Language: German, French, English

Music: Hicham Chahidi

Illustration: Chloé Huie Brickert 


About the authors:
Alina Schmidt

Alina is studying political science and French at the University of Freiburg. Her interest in journalism is already reflected in her work at the music editorial office of Uni FM where she occasionally co-hosts the Soundcheck-show. She can talk for hours about music, feminism and other political phenomena, cooking recipes, memes and foreign languages.

Stella Zimmermann

Stella is 23 years old and studies medicine in Freiburg. She is currently working in the lab for her doctoral thesis. Since her childhood, she has always loved reading and has been interested in writing. Being part of this project, she is now even more excited to make her journalistic voice heard.

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