Attempt at Haimhauser School: contain outbreaks – Munich

Enjoyable? Well, there are more pleasant things, says 17-year-old Zara. The student is standing in the gym of the Bavarian International School (BIS), and she has just spat between two partitions into a brown plastic bottle in which half the class’s saliva was already swimming. The school calls this a “saliva spitting class pool”. After all, you can’t see or smell anything yourself when you spit in, says Zara. It all only happens in the head.

A pilot project at the BIS in Haimhausen near Dachau came to an end on Thursday: the school, which in addition to its location there also operates a house in Munich and has a total of around 1200 students, and the Augsburg laboratory operator Synlab spent three weeks trying out how to do it can efficiently test entire classes for the coronavirus. There is not enough capacity to test each student individually, which is why the idea is to bundle the tests: the students spit one after the other into a shared container that contains a virus-inactivating liquid. The mixture is then subjected to a PCR test.

With this one cannot reliably diagnose every infection, says the biochemist Alexander Hauenschild from Synlab, who developed the project. But it is not about finding all infected people, but about the so-called super spreaders: “People who go through a bar and infect 20 others”, although they may not show any symptoms themselves. Many corona infections can be traced back to such highly contagious people, says Hauenschild. If someone is sitting in a class with such a high viral load, the test reliably shows that. And then the class can take an individual test.

With such pool tests, corona outbreaks can be limited at an early stage, says school principal Chrissie Sorenson. At their school, ten classes of different ages took part in the pilot, they came every Monday and Thursday to the gym, which was converted into a small test center, to spit. This takes about a minute per class. And that has already proven itself, says Sorenson: At the end of October, the PCR test hit the saliva pool of an eighth grade. The next day the children came to the individual test – and so they found out that a student who showed no symptoms had a lot of viruses in his throat. Sorenson says he did not infect another child in his class. The school’s hygiene measures have also proven their worth.

The brown plastic containers contain the saliva of one class each.

(Photo: Robert Haas)

In the BIS gym, the students not only practiced spitting into a bottle together. Individual students as well as a complete fifth and a twelfth grade also did additional individual tests each time – independently, without professional help, by rinsing the throat, not by smear. Corresponding test kits are already available in stores, says Hauenschild from Synlab: You gargle with water for ten seconds, spit into a transparent cup and pull the result into a small tube. That then goes to the laboratory.

Such a test is more pleasant than a swab through the nose, which she also had to take once, says Zara, who has gargled six times. The fifth graders can do it just like the older ones. And basically, daycare children could do that too, says Hauenschild. Nobody is afraid of a sip of water, unlike a long swab. Anyone who can brush their teeth can gargle and spit.

Synlab bears the costs for the pilot project at the Bavarian International School; Hauenschild says they have invested around 30,000 euros in material – and they are also happy to cooperate with public schools if interested. On the one hand, the company came to BIS through personal contacts at the International School Augsburg – and BIS was also predestined because it has its own “Health Department”.

This is headed by nurse Julia Lönker; Otherwise, she and her team take care of students or teachers who are injured or need medication. Now they have organized the test center in the gym, laid out walking routes, set up tables and partitions and determined their spitting times based on the class timetables in order to disrupt lessons as little as possible. But none of this is rocket science, says Lönker, and once everything has been set up, the effort is limited.

A converted gym does not necessarily have to be. The aim is actually for the students to spit into the containers directly in their classrooms, says Hauenschild. He hopes that if you can search for superspreaders across the board with the help of the spitting pools, that would be a real contribution to fighting pandemics. But how the idea will continue is still open. Next, they want to sit down with schools and health authorities, says Hauenschild. And then see what can be implemented.


Munich: Trial against ex-professor of the music college – Munich

The next process is pending, and how much this occupies the University of Music and Theater can be seen from the fact that it sent out a press release this Wednesday. In this, Bernd Redmann, president of the state institution since 2014, is “relieved” that the criminal case against the former composition professor Hans-Jürgen von Bose will begin on Friday. The aim is to use the knowledge that the procedure may bring to “continue learning and work on possible failures”.

To this end, the music college will have the process observed: Frank Saliger should take care of this. He holds a chair for criminal law at the Ludwig Maximilians University, but also represented the AfD in January 2020 when the party was accused of accepting a potentially illegal party donation.

A criminal lawyer who is considering criminal proceedings for a university: that doesn’t happen that often. The process shows that from Friday before the third criminal chamber at the Munich I Regional Court there could be more than the allegation of rape in three domestic cases and the allegation of illicit possession of narcotics.

Hans-Jürgen von Bose is accused. In 1992 he was appointed full professor of composition at the Hochschule für Musik. In 1996 his opera “Schlachthof 5” was performed at the Munich National Theater. He then felt bullied by critics, retired as incapacitated in 2007, and applied for reinstatement in 2012. He has not taught since the 2015 police investigation.

Hans-Jürgen von Bose is considered a friend of Siegfried Mauser, who headed the music academy from 2003 to 2014. The former rector has been convicted of sexual offenses, has withdrawn to Salzburg and is fighting to postpone the three-year prison sentence to which he was sentenced for health reasons or not to have to serve at all. The proceedings against Bose could therefore also be about whether there was a “system of abuse of power” at the conservatoire, as some have claimed. Steffen Ufer, the defense attorney for Hans-Jürgen von Bose, says they don’t want to have anything to do with the Mauser case. With his client “an acquittal is to be expected”.

Ufer is one of the prominent veterans among German defense lawyers. He defended Oetker kidnapper Dieter Zlof, got Uli Hoeneß out of custody, and pleaded for Eric Burdon and Konstantin Wecker. Now, at 80, he steps into the ring for Hans-Jürgen von Bose, “perhaps one of my last big cases,” says Ufer. He finds the story exciting, the accusation against his client “completely grotesque and legally absurd”. For a long time, the judiciary was not sure whether they would even allow the prosecution to be charged, says Ufer. “But then you made a decision, because of today’s times.”

Today’s time – that indicates what has changed in recent years. Also at the music college. The Mauser processes have permanently changed this. “No stone was left unturned there,” says Christine Schornsheim, “and this thorough reappraisal was and is a good thing.” Schornsheim is professor for harpsichord at the Musikhochschule, its vice-president – and she got the first lawsuit against Mauser rolling.

Like other women, she had been silent for years. However, when the police came into the house in 2015 to investigate Bose, and Mauser issued him a certificate of good repute, they went to the police, filed a complaint against Mauser for sexual assault in 2009, and Mauser was convicted of sexual assault. More women came forward, followed by a new trial, and at the end of this trial, the Federal Court of Justice upheld a ruling by the Munich I Regional Court in autumn 2019, which sentenced Mauser to two years and nine months in prison for sexual assault.

There were several reports in the Mauser trials about the climate that long prevailed at the music college. And even today it is easy to find contemporary witnesses who report on it. For example, competitions are said to have been “commonplace” to determine which professor was the first to “crack” a new student – or a student. And about Hans-Jürgen von Bose, there are descriptions of how openly he should have dealt with topics such as bisexuality or affairs. The news magazine Spiegel, which Bose received in May 2018 in his house in a suburb of Munich, the professor said he was constantly looking for a kick – whether while driving or in bed. In the meantime, Bose no longer grants home stories and does not otherwise express itself directly.


Trial in Munich: fine instead of social housing – Munich

The fact that the Munich rental market occasionally causes bizarre to desperate actions is nothing new – but one woman has now even ended up in the district court for her behavior, where she was sentenced to a fine of 1,800 euros – 90 daily rates of 20 euros each – for bribery .

The woman, a 28-year-old cashier from Unterhaching, had applied for a social housing in Munich at the beginning of 2018 on the online portal of the municipal housing office; she also met the conditions for a one-room apartment. But because there were no apartments available, she couldn’t get any. In November 2019 she wrote a lengthy email to the employee of the housing office responsible for her, with some – for her – disastrous sentences: “If you want money then I will give you money. It is not a problem, I will do everything I can to get an apartment . Tell me how much money you need ??? “

The judge didn’t believe the story with the faulty Google translation

This brought her a criminal complaint for bribery, for which she ended up before the magistrate. There she explained that she had been looking for an apartment for a long time – in the meantime she had lived with her sister, in a pension, also in a cellar and sometimes on the street. She did not want to bribe anyone – rather, she said at the hearing, she wanted to express in her email that she could raise the bail and rent for an apartment. Because of her poor knowledge of German, she had the text translated by Google – and something must have gone wrong.

But the judge didn’t believe her. “The statement of the accused,” says the statement of reasons for the judgment, “that she only wanted to express that she could provide bail, is, from the court’s point of view, a protective claim.” On the one hand, the emails are constantly written with a large number of typing errors. The use of a translation program can lead to “distortions of meaning”, but the program usually translates without spelling mistakes.

When determining the sentence, a small previous conviction was assessed to the disadvantage of the accused, to their advantage that the bribe was ultimately unsuccessful. The judgment (AZ: 1111 Cs 407 Js 224934/19) is not yet final.


Munich: “lateral thinkers” fail in front of the VGH – Munich

The Bavarian Administrative Court (VGH) rejected two urgent motions from the initiative “lateral thinking 089” on Saturday. The movement had requested the city to hold rallies for a week on Munich’s Theresienwiese. There was supposedly a kick-off event with up to 120,000 participants, a second application included seven further rallies: from Monday to Friday for up to 10,000 people each time and for up to 50,000 people on the coming weekend.

The Munich district administration department (KVR) rejected both applications. On the other hand, the so-called “lateral thinkers” have filed a lawsuit, first at the Administrative Court in Munich (VG) and after they failed again at the next higher instance, the VGH. The organizers can no longer appeal against its resolutions.

The movement’s rally plans come at a time when the second wave of infections is particularly high. But that is exactly what it is apparently about: The Ulm lawyer Markus Haintz, a well-known supporter of the “lateral thinkers”, wanted to question in court that there is even a pandemic. The motto of the large demonstration on Sunday was “We are celebrating the end of the pandemic” – the rally could only be rejected in this form. A spokesman for the KVR said: “Since the ‘lateral thinkers’ declared in the application that they would forego masks and distance and even call for hugs, we issued a negative decision.” The two courts followed suit. The VG announced that the city was following the assessment that the meeting would “probably pose unacceptable risks in terms of protection against infection.”

The court doubts that the rally was really planned

In its decision on Saturday, the Bavarian Administrative Court doubts that there was any “real intention” to hold the rallies, according to a spokesman. Despite a request from the Senate, the organizer did not make credible that he actually wanted to hold the announced meetings.

In contrast to the previous meetings in Munich and the meeting planned for Saturday in Leipzig, demonstrations between November 8th and 15th in Munich were not mentioned on the Internet pages and social media channels of the “lateral thinking” movement. Otherwise it was not evident that these events were being advertised or prepared in any way, the court continued. When registering for the large demonstration, attorney Haintz announced that he would, if necessary, take legal action before the Federal Constitutional Court. All in all, this suggests that the movement was not really interested in holding the rally, but in exhausting all possibilities.

Last Sunday, the “lateral thinkers” circumvented the requirements of the KVR by unceremoniously canceling the registered meeting and instead announcing that they would hold a service – without any restrictions on participants. Representatives from politics, churches and society reacted indignantly. The Bavarian Ministry of the Interior announced that the police and assembly authorities would “prevent such diversionary maneuvers from the start”. And so, despite the ban on demonstrations, the Munich police are preparing for work this Sunday: emergency services should be at Theresienwiese and “enforce the ban”.


Hotels in Munich: Far too many rooms available – Munich

In the pandemic, many hoteliers have the same problem as some Munich tenants: They can no longer afford their accommodation. With what creative ideas hotels are trying to get through the crisis.


Franz Kotteder

A year ago, the mood in the industry was more like that of 1896 in Klondike, Canada. Anyone who had a lot of play money for real estate was not investing in rental apartments in Munich, but in hotels. What is a monthly rent of 18 euros per square meter when you can get 150 euros per night for a small room? Year after year the number of hotel beds in the city grew by up to 6,000, and around 50 new hotels were added each year. The result was a development that was repeatedly complained about by the hotel and restaurant association in the city. There is a bubble growing that has to burst at some point.


Munich: Christmas tree on Marienplatz despite Corona – Munich

How good that in this exceptional Corona year you can at least rely on the Christmas tree on Marienplatz. The sight wasn’t always nice, but this time other qualities count anyway.

Advent 2020 may be the first Advent since the birth of Jesus that really deserves the name stade Zeit – albeit a little different from what the people of Munich would like. Stade Zeit, that means this year: no Christmas market, no strolling from stand to stand, no meeting friends for one or two much too sweet mulled wine, no smell of punch and bratwurst, no Christmas party. But with all the beautiful, familiar things that won’t work this year, there is at least one reliable constant: There will be a Christmas tree on Marienplatz in 2020 as well. It should be set up in the week before the first Advent.

Okay, if you take the reliable constant seriously, then the tree will not be a beauty so that the people of Munich have something to scold about. As always in the past few years, it may be a little crooked or a little bald. It will fit in well with this rather crooked and somehow bleak year. A quick look back: In 2019, the people of Munich had to be happy that they even got a tree; the originally chosen one from Freyung-Grafenau had crashed apart while loading, “saudumm glaffa”, commented the district administrator at the time. Five years ago it was a dry spruce from Ruhpolding that got ridicule from townspeople.

However, it is quite possible that the people of Munich will look at the Christmas tree on Marienplatz with less critical eyes this year. That they are just happy that he is standing there and that his lights radiate something like forgiveness. On the tree you will see that Christmas is approaching; this year when the weeks blur like the outlines of the Frauenkirche in the November mist. However, if you are looking for the perfect tree, you can order an artificial one on the Internet. For example the balsam fir, made with “True Needle Technology”, 1.80 meters for 719 euros. Real or fake – trees have an invaluable advantage in viral times: They can be hugged safely.


Munich: That was the weekend before the partial lockdown – Munich

Is he in a moral dilemma? Lukas puts the Bacardi-Cola can down on the lawn next to his blanket, looks past his buddy at the people on the banks of the Isar, then at those on the Reichenbach Bridge who want to take the very last rays of sunshine with them on Saturday afternoon. Then the 24-year-old says: “Yes, somehow yes.”

Lukas and thousands of others are out and about in town on Saturday. The Viktualienmarkt is full, as if everything were free, in the bars the sunny spots are completely occupied and on the paths, whether the sidewalks of the city center, the one on the Isar or in the English Garden, it looks as if all of Munich is lined up and member set off for a primary school hiking day. Everything is allowed. But is it also correct?

Lukas picks up the can, puts it down again and says: “We are now two households here.” He is sitting next to his girlfriend, the buddy across from him. They are also in the fresh air. He feels that’s okay. Whereby the feeling of what is okay, what is right and good, is again very different in this city, probably also in the whole country and even on the whole planet. And how do people deal with it? Are you mad that Monday is lockdown again? Do you care because you already know it? Do you follow the rules? A tour. The weekend dilemma started on Thursday.

Invitations were made to various chat groups. For example, at the Halloween celebration for children with punch on Saturday. “Come by from 5:30 pm”, it was said in one case. “Nice idea, but maybe the wrong time?” Was the answer, whereupon a discussion poured into the chat. In a men’s chat, one wrote on Saturday afternoon: “A few beers in the sun at the Viktualienmarkt?” Beers in the sun are wonderful for many, it is well known. Lots of people in a heap is wonderful for the spread of the virus, you know that too. “You can tell how society works: You stick to the rules, but exhaust them,” says one of the men. The question is why so many would defend themselves against the requirements – and what would happen if you let people’s personal responsibility run free.

Downstairs at the Fraunhoferstraße subway station everyone wears a mask on Saturday afternoon. A couple stands at one of the yellow pillars and kisses each other through two masks. Ten meters further the same picture on a bench. And upstairs, two meters in front of the escalator, on which everyone is exemplary, keeping two steps apart, there is a third couple in the open air. They also kiss extensively, then they put on their masks and go down to the platform. Spring and feelings of duty can definitely be combined.

Passers-by enjoy the warm and sunny autumn day while strolling through the colorful autumn courtyard garden

During the day it is on the paths, like in the courtyard garden, like the primary school hiking day.

(Photo: Ralph Peters / Imago)

A hundred meters from the escalator, in the Cordobar, all the sunny spots are occupied, all the shady spots are empty, in Mucki & Floyd a few meters further, shortly after the Bundesliga kick-off, four guests are sitting in a half-finished pub garden. Spontaneous or planned? “It was on the calendar,” says a young man and laughs. He and the three women are work colleagues and we had a long meeting for the day. “We work together anyway and sit outside, that’s okay,” says Anna, 30. It’s even more than okay for Bella. She is the operator of the restaurant.

Bella and her colleagues are in the process of roofing the garden for the next few months. They have plenty of time to do this from Monday. Should as many Munich residents as possible now go out to bars, cafés and pubs? “Absolutely!” Why? “Because they might still want a gastronomic variety in four weeks.”

Bella has a board showing how much debt accumulated during the first lockdown, € 24,409.61 in ten weeks. This time she at least agrees with the process. “Nobody knew how long it would take the first time, there was always another two weeks.” The result: They left cooling systems and devices running, and had to throw away a lot of food and drinks. Now everything is closed from Monday and they have shopped in moderation. Still, she thinks the rules are wrong. “Hardly anyone in the catering industry is infected,” she says and speaks out loud about every objection.

This afternoon there is a lot of discussion in the city, about Trump and football, but above all about the restrictions, and some conversations then go on like that. Opposite in the Sax, which shows football as always, everyone agrees on the corner sofa. Bayern have long been in the lead when Fabian explains that his two friends from Aalen are visiting. “First football, then we’ll go out to eat again. That’s okay.” The 26-year-old nods to his friends when they report that they have always thought about how to approach the weekend. “What we do is okay,” says Fabian. And what’s wrong? “A rave with 150 people in the slaughterhouse like there was recently.” Lukas is sitting in front of a beer and says: “If we had all followed the guidelines of the last few months, we might not need this lockdown now.”

He is a Stuttgart fan, season ticket holder on the standing grandstand, of the loyal kind. He says: “Even if I could have, I wouldn’t have gone to the stadium.” For reasons of hygiene? “Everything that makes being a fan missing is missing: friends, drinking beer and chants.” Whereby the Viktualienmarkt this afternoon could well pass as a light stand.

In the bars around the Viktualienmarkt, many Munich residents toast again.

(Photo: Sebastian Gabriel)

The noise level is considerable and so is the crowd. Some people do their traditional costume again, you would also do that on a normal weekend at the end of October, visit the Afterwiesn traditional costume events. There is no free space at the tables in the outdoor Hochreiter restaurant, the waiters carry around bottles of champagne and sparkling wine, Marina, 25, is sitting at a table and says: “It’s strange.” There are five of them, four women, one man, the women well made up and dressed in such a way that you could walk in anywhere. “Strange, everything full today and lockdown Monday,” says Marina. “Of course, everyone wants to go out again.” Sitting next to her is Ramona, 24, who says: “I don’t think that’s fair.

Everything is regulated here, you are outdoors, and the subway is narrow and full. “And the subways would continue to run, the restaurants would have to close. Ramona has an appointment with the family on Sunday,” we are still going eat sometimes, my father called it lockdown food. “Marina’s family does that too. By the way, two households sit together here, a three-person flat share and a couple.” That’s okay, “says Marina. The sun is setting, Bayern lead 2-0, and on the Reichenbachbrücke people line up at the railing to enjoy the last sunny evening before the restrictions. A couple stands there, tightly embraced, a group of three around a case of beer or a man alone with headphones with the skateboard leaning on his leg and the Munich connoisseur label in hand: an Augustiner bottle, he looks at the sunset and down to the Isar.

There is also Luke with the moral dilemma. When it has long been dark, fewer people are walking on the sidewalks, but they are now better dressed. Halloween children with masks are out and about. In the Zephyr, an adult in a skeleton costume crouches at the bar and drinks. Somehow a picture for this moment, for this time. Alex Schmaltz behind the bar is happy for every hour he can leave open. And many guests are happy to have every drink and meal on preheated plates. Pappenheim Castle is full of students sitting in front of schnitzel, the Ménage bar is well attended, and Klenze 17 anyway.

In the Zephyr bar, a skeleton sits lonely at the bar.

(Photo: Sebastian Gabriel)

There was hardly any excitement to be felt that evening. Not even with Lukas an der Isar. The 23-year-old is a bartender and recently had to tell regular guests every day for weeks that they should put on their mask when they go out onto the terrace. He had to put up with the fact that some people showed him the middle finger. Lukas will be unemployed from Monday, which he has known since Thursday. He says: “It’s good that the rules are uniform across Germany. You just had to do something.”


Corona pandemic: Munich is dark red – Munich

From this Monday on, stricter corona rules apply in Munich. The reason for this is the further increase in the number of infections over the weekend. The seven-day incidence on Sunday was 100.6, according to the Robert Koch Institute. This means that more than 100 out of 100,000 residents have been newly infected with the coronavirus in the past seven days – in other words: one in 1,000.

The number of reproductions is 1.2 – this means that, statistically, 100 infected people infect 120 new people. With the incidence value exceeding the 100 mark, Munich has reached the “dark red” level on the Free State’s so-called Corona traffic light. This means that the stricter corona rules that the state government has set for this level automatically apply from the following day.

The curfew in gastronomy is brought forward to 9 p.m. From this point on, there will also be a city-wide ban on selling alcohol and drinking publicly in several heavily frequented places. Both regulations start an hour earlier than before and apply until six in the morning. In addition, only 50 spectators or participants will be admitted to events. Only demonstrations, university lectures and church services are excluded.

The theaters are hoping for a special permit from the mayor

All of these new rules will apply at least until the end of the week. Even if Munich fell below 100 on Monday, they would remain in force for another five days. For the time being, the city wants to stick to its exception rule, which exempt primary school students from the mask requirement. The aggravation is likely to hit cultural life particularly hard. The upper limit of 50 participants for events has an impact on theaters and concert organizers, up to 200 spectators were allowed here previously. As part of a pilot project, the State Opera and Philharmonic Hall had permission to even admit 500 spectators.

Several directors of the Bavarian theaters had only insisted on Friday in an open letter to Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) that they should continue to play in front of 200 people regardless of the rising number of infections. They justify this by saying that they have long been working with well-functioning hygiene concepts. Sufficient distance between the seats, modern ventilation systems and airy pathways ensured a safe visit to the theater. In fact, no case is known so far in which someone was infected during a performance.

If only 50 spectators were actually admitted from Monday on, that would be a major setback for the theater in the half-way running again. Especially since, for example, the premiere of “Dantons Tod” will take place next Friday at the Residenztheater and “Die Vögel” will be staged by Frank Castorf at the State Opera on Saturday, both of which have long since been sold out.

In addition, a reduction in the number of spectators means an immense bureaucratic effort, according to the State Opera’s press office. For example, all tickets that have already been sold would have to be booked back and performances would have to be sold again. Otherwise you can hardly decide which 50 people are allowed to come and which are not. Not to mention the planning uncertainty for performances that are about to go on sale in advance.

The theaters’ last hope is now on Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) or the district administration department, says Ingrid Trobitz, deputy director of the Residenztheater. On the sidelines of the “Stand Up for Culture” demonstration on Saturday, Art Minister Bernd Sibler referred to the special permit that theaters can apply to the city of Munich. It is expected that this question will be resolved on Monday, but plan for the worst. “It’s a shitty situation,” says the new Kammerspiele director Barbara Mundel.

She is already considering shortening productions in an emergency and then playing two or three times in a row in order to reach at least a reasonably acceptable number of people with her art. The speakers of the Kammerspiele, the Volkstheater, the State Opera and the Residenztheater agree that they would also play in front of 50 spectators. Because although it would really not be economical – they do not want to lock up again completely.

Meanwhile, there has been a corona outbreak in the intensive care unit at the Großhadern Clinic of the Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU). There, at the end of last week, three patients tested positive for the corona virus – they were still negative when they were admitted to the hospital. The cases had been reported to the health department, said spokesman Philipp Kreßirer, all contact persons had been identified and tested. Intensive care staff is also affected, but no other patients.

A genetic analysis of the viruses should clarify how the chains of infection have run

The affected employees are in quarantine, “the infection process is limited according to the current status,” said the clinic. The number of employees in quarantine is in the single-digit range. The affected patients have now been transferred back to the normal ward, where they are isolated and receive further treatment.

How the patients got infected is still unclear. They are researching intensively and carrying out a genetic analysis of the viruses, said Kreßirer – so you can see how the chains of infection have run. “We now have to find out what the cause was.” Say who brought the virus to the intensive care unit. Until the results of the investigations are available, which were started on Friday, at least a week will probably pass.


Munich: Living in the Pandemic – Munich

The theologian Susanne Breit-Keßler and the social psychologist Dieter Frey on the effect of the pandemic on society: What to do when you encounter mask refusers and whether it is ethically justifiable to call the police at a corona party.

The bishop comes to kiss when she ponders what could stay with Corona. Or, in other words, what long-term consequences of the pandemic she wouldn’t be so sad about. With a certain joy, Susanne Breit-Keßler actually imagines a kind of social upheaval in Munich. Even in serious times, seriousness must not stifle everything. Before that, however, she weighs more fundamental things when she thinks about her city. Solidarity and scapegoats, partying and denunciation, the virus between young and old. It’s about experiences from the Corona year, about big questions and wishes in the second wave.


Munich: Discussion on higher education law at TU and LMU – Munich

Information often trickles into the home office slowly. Even if it is as important as the upcoming reform of the Bavarian Higher Education Act. Not all professors and lecturers at the two Munich universities of excellence seem to be aware of the status of developments. You and the administrative staff have been busy for weeks preparing for the winter semester including online teaching. Lectures at the Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU) and the Technical University (TU) begin in November.

Meanwhile, they were not inactive elsewhere: on Wednesday last week there was an expert hearing in the Bavarian state parliament on the planned reform of university law. According to inquiries from various faculties, one hears about it only from the media. This may also be due to the fact that the hygiene rules at universities barely allow an exchange about it, for example at a coffee machine. Those who can avoid contact. Key issues papers are not passed on either.

Such a paper on reform was mentioned again and again at the hearing. Even of the invited experts, only a few knew its content. It can now be found on the website of the Ministry of Science. It is 21 pages long and very detailed. The new law should be a “signal for a new departure” with the “model of the greatest possible freedom”, can be read there, for example, often also the word “personal responsibility” for example with regard to self-determination and development. To finance this, the universities should be given a “comprehensive fee collection option”, for example for non-EU foreigners, and thus an incentive to “fundraise” and start up companies.

I thought it was at most a three-page paper, admits a research associate at LMU who does not want to admit his statements by name. He is rather critical of President Bernd Huber. “I think they want the big hit,” he says. That means, among other things, much more power for the university management, which restricted the increased say in the various bodies. “I find benevolent contradiction important – from the professor to the student.”

“I don’t think everyone is aware of what’s coming,” says Margit Weber, canon lawyer and LMU women’s representative for 14 years. In this role, Weber sat as an expert at the hearing in the state parliament. A week later, she is dismayed that the paper only “insufficiently addresses” equality. It must be felt in all areas, she says, not just an appeal is enough. “In Bavaria we have had around 50 percent female students for 30 years, and at LMU even 60 percent.” Overall, there are only 20 percent women professors, one president and only a few vice-presidents. She has long advocated equal appointments in praesidia. Equality must be clearly specified in the new higher education law as an overriding task and as a guiding principle, because that’s the only way something can move, she says. “That would make Munich and Bavaria much more attractive.” For companies, success has long depended on whether they have mixed teams. “How do we want to attract top women from all over the world?”

A professor from her house, whose name should also not appear here, fears a further dismantling of “collegial leadership” at the universities. He also thinks of company structures. “University presidents are made as powerful today as they were at VW under Martin Winterkorn, which led to the emissions scandal at the time.” Today, however, power is more likely to be shared in successful companies. He feels growing frustration among his colleagues because changes have always been in the same direction so far.

No scientist today can have a sufficient overview of research in his field alone. The best are therefore the humble ones who rely on the opinion of their colleagues. Unfortunately, the office of the president all too often attracts people who have a thirst for recognition and are not among the best scientists. In more than 20 years as a professor, he himself was never asked by the management or administration of the university or the ministry about what could improve his research and teaching.

It is unclear whether LMU President Bernd Huber was asked for advice. Among other things, he says that the LMU is very open to university reform in Bavaria and is very interested in being constructively involved in the process. Important guiding principles are more autonomy, more dynamism and more differentiation so that the different universities can develop their full potential. There are of course still many unanswered questions to be discussed in the concrete form of the reform.

Thomas Hofmann, who has been President of the Technical University of Munich for a year, would be happy to contribute his expertise, he says in a telephone conversation. But he has not yet been asked. Even his predecessor Wolfgang Herrmann, who gave verbose answers at the state parliament hearing, had no creative role in the context, says Hofmann. One of the things that is important to him is to speed up the appointment process. Today’s practice, which often takes a year, is completely inefficient, he says. His focus is on lifelong learning, which also includes adult students, and the support of spin-offs, as the TU is already doing.

Regarding the concern of Verdi regional department head Christiane Glas-Kinateder that fixed-term employment contracts would increase due to the conversion of the universities into corporations, as the key issues paper provides, Hofmann replies: “It takes brain circulation.” But you have to be careful that there are not too many temporary relationships. Overall, Hofmann is calling for the universities to have significantly more room for maneuver.

“The perspective of the university management is not necessarily the perspective of all university members,” says Maximilian Frank, TU student and active spokesman for the Bavarian State ASten Conference. It should not be decided only from above. A legal framework must be given to greater personal responsibility. We see ourselves as a corrective, he says. In principle, committees are not a design obstacle.