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uni'alumni 2016

When the green-red government came to power in the State Parliament in Stuttgart in 2012, it reinstituted the so-called legally constituted student government (Verfasste Studierendenschaft – VS) after 35 years absence. Eva Opitz asked Dr. Susanne Maerz from the former Independent General Student Committee (u-asta) and Anna-Lena Osterholt from the current Student Council about the changes in university policy brought on by the decision. uni’alumni: Frau Maerz, what role did u-asta play for students of the University of Freiburg? Susanne Maerz: It was a stopgap – formed when the conservative government of the time dissolved the VS for fear of terrorism. This meant that the students lost their political voice. We were no long- er allowed to have a say in higher education policy or in general political matters and lost our autonomy. U-asta was our answer. Besides u-asta, there was another official General Student Committee (AStA). How was the cooperation between the two committees? Maerz: It was a complex model, because it was im- portant for us in u-asta to have political legitimacy. An alliance between u-asta and the departmental student committees ran in the university elections. It had a clear majority in the regular AStA and the Senate, ensuring the continued existence of u-asta. The two committees were run by the same people. We met officially as AStA once each semester, but u-asta took care of all the work, except for the cul- tural events. Susanne Maerz (right) advocated giving the student government its political mandate back in the 1990s. What seemed like a distant dream then is now reality with the legally constituted student government, and Anna-Lena Osterholt (left) serves on the government’s board. Photos: Thomas Kunz 26 INTERVIEW The legally constituted student government is back – and opens up possibilities earlier generations could only dream of “A Responsible Part of the University”