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Election of New Rector Postponed

The new date planned for the joint session of the Senate and the University Council is 27 May 2020

Freiburg, Mar 11, 2020

Election of New Rector Postponed

Photo: Manfred Zahn

On 17 April 2020 the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg again amended its regulation on measures to prevent infection and halt the spread of coronavirus, including a ban on events and other gatherings of more than five people in non-public areas until 3 May 2020. In this context and in view of the serious growth of the corona pandemic, the meeting to elect a new rector of the University of Freiburg which was to be held at a joint session of the Senate and the University Council on Wednesday, 29 April 2020 is being postponed. It has been rescheduled to 27 May 2020.

Who will wear the chain of office from October 2020? The election for a new rector – probably on 27 May 2020 – will decide. Photo: Manfred Zahn

The University of Freiburg published its invitation for candidates in mid-November 2019, the application deadline was on 16 December, the decisive date is now almost upon us: the Senate and the University Council are planning to vote for the new rector who will take up the office on 1 October 2020 in a joint session which it is hoped will take place on 27 May 2020. The candidate who gains the necessary majority from both bodies will be appointed. In the first round, a majority of all members’ votes is required: 22 votes in the Senate, six on the University Council. If it goes to a second round, the majority of members in attendance would suffice, and in the third round a simple majority of votes cast. This is the first elections for a new rector at the University of Freiburg since the amended Baden-Württemberg State University Law (LHG) of 2018, which has strengthened the rights of the elected professors: since the start of the new term of office in October 2019 they have held a majority in the Senate, following the first university elections under the new LHG in June 2019.

Nomination by the Selection Committee

The election process for salaried members of the university management is described in detail in Paragraph 18 of the LHG. Put simply, the Chair of the University Council establishes a Selection Committee to handle preparations for the election. This committee includes seven members from each of the two bodies, who are nominated by both bodies and elected in a secret ballot. The committee reviews the applications, and may permit applications even after the deadline and actively approach other individuals. “Fifteen applicants have submitted their documentation before the deadline,” reports Prof. Dr. Dr. Barner, Chair of the University Council and the Selection Committee. In the first step, the Selection Committee decided who would be invited for an interview. They then held discussions with these individuals. After that, the Selection Committee decided on its nomination and agreed it with the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts. “The field is comparatively wide, and we are delighted to have received good and convincing applications,” says Barner. “We’ve taken the time to make the best possible choice in our view for the university, and to hereby achieve the widest possible consensus in the committee.”

As Chair of the Selection Committee Andreas Barner aims to recommend the best possible candidates for the office of Rector of the University of Freiburg.
Photo: Sandra Meyndt

The process laid out in the LHG also applies to the election of a Vice President for Teaching and Learning, who will also take up office on 1 October 2020. The timetable for this election has not yet been set.

Confidentiality is ensured

The election of salaried members of the Rectorate is a confidential decision about personnel. “To protect the applicants and out of respect for the process the Selection Committee naturally ensures confidentiality and does not issue any information about individuals,” says Barner. Whether or not they want to make their candidacy public is their personal decision. The University of Freiburg will announce the results of the election on the day of the vote.

The joint session of the two electoral bodies is now expected to take place on 27 May 2020. Voting is open to members of the university. In addition, the bodies will decide at the start of the session whether the candidates’ presentations will also be open to members of the university. The university will provide information on the precise schedule as soon as possible.


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