University Life Small steps to change

Looking back on the University Day "Inclusion concerns everyone"

[Translate to Englisch:] Flipchart mit dem Titel "Haus der Inklusion" und vielen Moderationskarten
[Translate to Englisch:] [Translate to Englisch:] ASH Berlin

On November 2, 2022, the university day in the winter semester 2022/2023 took place under the title "Inclusion concerns everyone - Accessibility and intersectional interweavings". Over 140 people participated in presence and digitally both in the morning in the Audimax and in various workshops in the afternoon. The university day was accompanied by the protest of students, because a funding of English language translation for the integration of international students at ASH Berlin was not provided by the university. This clearly shows how necessary a public debate about the question of an inclusive university is. According to the "Index for Inclusion" and the legal framework, inclusion is linked to the demand to break down barriers, to create spaces of opportunity and to strengthen diversity in order to implement lived inclusion at the university.

In order to enable further work on the topic of inclusion at the university, the preparatory group of the university day has taken on the task of further processing the results and demands that have been developed and to show a path for the future steps towards an inclusive university. At the university day, language and communication, digital accessibility and the integration of student perspectives were identified as key areas for action. In these areas, there is a need for action that must be taken into account at ASH Berlin in the corresponding committees and decision-making structures:

  • Long-term course planning, so that students with support and translation needs in particular can participate in courses.
  • Establishment of inclusion as a cross-cutting issue in existing and future continuing education and training programs for the various member groups of the university with the aim of further raising awareness and building competence.
  • Barrier-free signage in all buildings of ASH Berlin in German, English, Braille and with pictograms by the end of 2024 in existing buildings and with the completion of the new building.
  • Language is a key tool for inclusion. Provision of a translation contingent and setting in the budget from 2025 for German sign language, English and other languages for cross-university events (which do not count as courses) and documents relevant to studies.

A survey was conducted on the part of the students, the results of which were presented at the university day. This demonstrates the need to make the perspective of students more central to strategic action at the university. Key needs identified by students include:

  • universal access to learning
  • the ability to take advantage of services offered by the university
  • inclusive, simple and sensitive communication
  • accessibility and awareness
  • a sense of community
  • diversity and recognition at ASH Berlin

It is possible to work on the named fields of action and the needs of students in the internal diversity organization development process. In the long term, the development of an inclusion concept based on a needs analysis oriented to the "Index for Inclusion" is necessary. It is - in accordance with the guiding principle of learning and teaching - about inclusive design in all areas of action to promote "permeability, compatibility and mobility with a focus on the intersectional interweaving of different relations of injustice: barrier-free, participation-oriented and democratic". Inclusion must be lived as a matter of course at ASH Berlin. In order to anchor this in practice, the participation of all university members and the involvement of the member groups and organizational units in their professional expertise and responsibilities is required.