Table of Contents• Transparency
• Network Politics
• Student Councils
• Free Spaces
TransparencyTrust is good. Protocols are better.
Transparency of Student Self-AdministrationIn our student self-administration a lot of information accumulates. Accumulated and linked, this information is transformed into knowledge, knowledge in turn means influence and power. Access to this knowledge is therefore equal to the influence that a person or group has. If this access is now concentrated, a small circle of profiteers is formed, which can work undisturbed. Accordingly, it must be the principle of every democratically legitimised body to create the highest possible degree of transparency in order to give the voters the maximum influence they are entitled to. Above all, in order to evaluate the performance of political decision-makers, it is necessary to make the basis of political decisions and their results transparent.
Also in view of the low voter turnout and the lack of knowledge about the processes within student self-administration, it must be a task of the elected decision-makers to bring the work of the committees closer to potential voters in a way that is as comprehensible as possible. The list UP.rising has dedicated itself to this topic and therefore calls for the following concrete areas to be addressed within the next legislative period:
Transparency in the AStAThe AStA is the executive body of student self-administration and is therefore responsible for the tasks of the student body and its business.
The regular publication of the AStA Minutes has improved in the past. At times, there have been major delays in publication, but we believe that this is a positive trend.
The accountability and attendance at the meetings of the StuPas of the individual speakers, as required by the statutes of the student body, has also improved. Here there are isolated cases where accountability leaves something to be desired.
Last but not least, the AstA, like the StuPa, promotes project applications from the student body, which, according to the rules of procedure, must be noted in the minutes. Here, too, transparency could be increased by a different way of communicating about the funded projects. Accordingly, we call for the following points here:
• creation of measures in case of violation of this publication obligation
• the consistent submission of reports by the lecturers or the consistent implementation of measures in accordance with the student body's statutes against lecturers who fail to comply with their duties
• a separate publication of all projects supported by the AstA on a regular basis for the student body
Transparency in the StuPaThe StuPa is the most powerful control body of the student self-administration and profits in its work from a high degree of transparency of the work in the student committees. However, the StuPa itself must also maintain a high degree of transparency. Dealing with the minutes is on the right track, adding the attendance lists to the minutes is definitely an important step that has been successfully taken in the past.
The problem of attendance has been reduced considerably, partly as a result of the digital meetings. For example, in the last legislature there was almost no meeting that was not quorate. We very much welcome this development and hope to continue this in the future.
In addition, like the AstA, the StuPa decides on project applications from the student body. Here, too, we believe that transparency must be increased through separate publication, possibly together with the AstA. In the past, we have provided more transparency in the form of a list, but would welcome an overall solution of the StuPa.
Accordingly, we demand here:
• creation of tools against Members who do not exercise their mandate
• a separate publication of all projects supported by the StuPa on a regular basis for the student body
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FinancesOur money. Our choice.
Finance and budget are in our eyes a particularly important issue. The StuPa manages the students' money from the student body contribution of the semester fees. The StuPa not only has a controlling function, but is also authorized to approve funds itself. In doing so, it is always important to make sure that the students' money is spent in the interest of the student body.
Student funds for student projectsIn the financial year 2019/20, funds were made available for a refugee project in Nauen by AStA decision. While we welcome the integration of refugees and the creation of a dignified place of residence for them, this is not the task of the University of Potsdam, and the financing of such assistance should certainly not come from the funds of student contributions. In another case, excessive server bills were funded as a student project, which should be avoided for reasons of thriftiness. Such cases have been accumulating recently.
Therefore, we demand the consistent implementation of §2 II 1 FO: "The assets of the student body are to be used within the framework of the tasks of student self-administration."
List available funds in the quarterly reportAt the end of the last financial year, there were bottlenecks in the financing of student projects by the StuPa, among other things because the StuPa did not have a continuous overview of the amount of funds at its disposal. To this end, the financial officer Bahne Brand introduced a detailed overview of the status of the accounts in the quarterly report. One could see at a glance how much money the StuPa still has at its disposal.
We demand that the StuPa continue to be provided with such a quarterly report and that it be included in the financial regulations.
More continuous and better transfer of the financial departmentOn the part of the AStA, the financial officer is responsible for finances. Her work is by far the most complex and demands the most responsibility. Therefore, we require that every new person in this position is given a reasonable period of familiarisation and that documents and guidelines are drawn up on how to run the financial unit.
Revision of the Financial GuideThe financial guide is outdated and is to a large extent not observed by the student councils. However, the student councils play an important role in student self-administration. They have large funds at their disposal with which they can support projects of their members. The financial guide sets out the factual and mathematical conditions for applications from the student councils and the student body.
In order to strengthen the student councils and to modernise the regulations, we therefore call for a revision of the Finance Guide.
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Network PoliticsThe university systems are secure - as long as nobody attacks them.
It should come as no surprise that aging administrative structures like to sleep through digitization. At the UP, however, the digital security of student data is being cut back at crucial points. In (actually anonymous) surveys of the university not only were some data surprisingly already filled out in advance, but the questionnaires of other students could also be called up quite easily using key data such as a combination of e-mail addresses and matriculation numbers. In other places, the attempt to digitise is then made under duress, without considering the possible consequences. The most recent example is the annual debate on online elections, in which students have repeatedly pointed out that potential digital conversions are anything but certain. Instead, the university prefers to accept the restriction of our democratic principles (e.g. the traceability of the election), using flimsy and refutable arguments regarding cost savings and increasing voter participation.
This year's online semester has also shown that there is further need for improvement on the part of the university. For example, the university generally relies on the central service "Zoom", which has already been criticized several times in the past for data protection problems. Of course we understand that good and secure solutions take time, but there are enough less problematic providers. We also see that a decentralized solution hosted by the university itself is the only solution in the long run when it comes to managing and protecting the data of students and teachers.
It is important that we take the initiative and point out to the university and the student body what is wrong on the net-political level and show alternatives, such as open source solutions, and fight for the protection of our data and our democratic structures. Therefore, we demand, among other things, the creation and appointment of a permanent AStA Unit for Network Policy in order to be able to meet exactly these requirements.
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EducationError 404 - Education not found.
As the corona semester has shown, the university was unfortunately not at all prepared for a digitalized education. Many students were not able to participate in the university as they should have been due to lack of internet access or lack of online accessible books. We therefore call for an expansion of the library's online stock so that homework can be done more easily without physical access; and more PC workstations - also and especially for students who do not have fast Internet access or a laptop.
Furthermore, the last semester has shown that teaching at the university is suffering from its ever-increasing growth. Thus, teachers with special teaching duties are to be employed instead of professors who would no longer have the opportunity to do research and teach to the usual extent. Therefore we demand that the university does not continue to grow boundlessly without sufficient expansion of teaching positions. In addition, more rooms for teaching are needed at last, because a university from 8 AM to 10 PM in containers is not appropriate for a university.
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Cafeteria ExpansionA full stomach is better than a leg up.
All those who regularly visited our refectories at lunchtime before Corona know that they are already at their limit. With the expansion of the Griebnitzsee and Golm campuses, the situation will worsen without new food offerings.
Although 3500 new students are expected in Golm alone, the university management has not yet planned any new refectories or expansion of the existing ones. Instead, they want to set up "alternative food offers" without having specified which concrete measures they mean by this.
We demand a timely expansion of the existing canteen capacities or equivalent food offers at the same price level. To this end, we want to put pressure on the university management and the student union in the StuPa and stand up for the needs of the students.
Furthermore, we will work to ensure that our concerns are also taken up by the responsible offices of the state government in order to achieve rapid progress in the proceedings.
Digitization of the AdministrationEnough faxing.
However, we see an urgent need for action not only in our refectories. As modern as our university presents itself to the outside world, the administrative procedures are often outdated. While even official business can often be done online, applications and the like are still possible in connection with a visit to the New Palace or, with luck, by mail. Especially personal matters, such as applying for a new PUCK or visits to the examination office, are associated with long waiting times and unfriendly opening hours for students. Once the application has been submitted, it often "only" takes weeks before it is processed.
Due to the constantly growing number of students and the planned expansion of the university, it is time to think about an alternative to existing administrative procedures. At this point in time, we cannot yet say how long online semesters will have to be carried out; in any case, the summer semester has shown how far behind the university is in its processes.
We are therefore calling for online application options in all legally possible areas, as well as the digital expansion of the administration.
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Student CouncilsEnsure the independence of the student councils.
Not only do the student councils form the basis for student self-administration, but for most students, student councils are also the first point of contact on the way to voluntary work within the student body. This makes it all the more important to enable the student councils to do a good job, to give them the necessary freedom and not to intervene actively and destructively in the structure from above due to political intrigues.
But that is exactly what some lists of the student parliament seem to see differently at the moment. As recently as June, a motion to amend the statutes of the Assembly of Student Representatives (VeFa) was initially rejected by the coalition lists, and a similar motion was accepted in another meeting, but forced the VeFa to accept all project funding applications from student representatives with a 2/3 majority. We think it is wrong, as a student parliament, to tell the student councils and their assembly what they spend their money on. We rather demand to accept that the VeFa as an independent body is able to set its own objectives and funding guidelines and does not want to be used as StuPa 2.0 for financing all projects.
However, not only project funding is an issue, but commitment in general must also be encouraged. In this respect, we welcome the plans that the work in student councils, among other things, should be creditable during studies.
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SustainabilityMore than just the ban on plastic bags.
We are concerned with a comprehensive concept of how environmental protection, society and the economy must work together to make a good life possible in the long term.
Three areas are particularly important to us:
EcologyWe particularly call for an extended sustainable food offer: more and better vegetarian and vegan options in the canteen. An incentive may be fairer prices compared to meat-based dishes (a schnitzel with asparagus must not cost as much as asparagus alone #KeinSchnitzelFürUmme).
The cafeteria is heavily frequented and therefore needs an expansion of its capacity.
That is why we want to renovate and modernise the refectories (this will not only make the work of the employees easier, but also improve the food service and working conditions). Furthermore, students should be encouraged to start and continue ecological initiatives. Financial support is to be secured for them by the AStA and the parliament.
For the safety of students and teachers, a car-free campus is to be implemented #TheCampusIsNoParkingPlace.
Social affairsWe demand that the problems of the students are perceived, taken seriously and solved. This requires an open ear. We would like to enter into an open dialogue with the students, and social initiatives within the university should also be financially supported and supported in other ways.
As far as anti-stigmatisation and empowerment of openness are concerned, we continue to demand that all students should be able to participate equally in the university and that any form of discrimination and exclusion should have no place at our university.
To this end, we demand the further implementation of gender-neutral toilets and clear sanctions for any form of discrimination (e.g. on racist or sexist grounds).
Sustainable budget policyIt is important to us that decisions for long-term improvements are made and sufficiently documented so that higher education policy can be efficiently shaped despite frequent changes in personnel. Excessive access to reserves should be avoided. The finances of approximately 700,000 euros should be managed responsibly and transparently (possibility of inspection by the student parliament).
Guidelines for procedures that are carried out several times should be developed.
Student money should only be spent on student projects that benefit the student body (see Finances).
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Free SpacesCreating free spaces - in the right way.
Student freedom is essential for student life on campus. Beyond events, they offer the opportunity to exchange opinions, think, develop or simply relax and drink coffee. The university already has open spaces on almost every campus, but they are not doing well. On the Griebnitzsee campus, this is a very small basement room, which is unfortunately only used by a few students. At the Neues Palais there is only one small room next to a comparatively huge unishop and a self-study zone where in reality only silent work is possible. It is therefore questionable whether these rooms are really suitable as student space, especially considering that there are far too few rooms available at the university anyway and seminar rooms are almost always occupied by events. In order to change this, we as students have to actively ensure that the planned expansions of the university include student space as soon as possible. Therefore we want to actively support concepts for the creation of new student space and give a voice to students who create and operate this space. We want to go to the StuPa for you, so that in the future student open space will not only be created in basements and former storage rooms.
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Visibility of Student Self-AdministrationFor a better view.
We have a low turnout every year. When asked "What does the Asta do?", most students could not say much, although this is where political decisions are made and large sums of money are managed.
We want to change that. We think that the core of the problem is the lack of perception of student self-administration. To increase visibility, we therefore maintained a Twitter account during the last legislative period, reporting live from Stupa sessions under the hashtag #Sitzungstwittern tweets.
With this offer we have reached 20.000 impressions so far, which is a great incentive to continue this in the near future.
Furthermore, we plan to make topics comprehensible on our website, up-rising.de, with further background articles or position papers.
In this way, we want to create opportunities for those interested in higher education policy to get to grips with it, but also to provide a minimum of information to uninterested people.
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