• Changes to the petition

    at 13 Mar 2015 17:19

    We only changed the URL, where the e-mail-correspondence between Prof. Dr. Annette Beck-Sickinger and the concerned Indian student was published, for better visibility; and added the phrase 'and threats to her "many female students"', as this was inadvertently left out from the original text... We believe Prof. Beck-Sickinger's reference to her "many female students" is downright derogatory and an implicit pre-emptive-action-necessitating assumption of a threat-perception to her female students from an Indian male student. Such a crass statement alone, reminiscent of the murderous prejudices against the Ku-Klux-Klan-stereotype of the African-American bogeyman/rapist in the antebellum American South, in MANY countries of the world, is ground enough for stern disciplinary action against someone who claims to be "not racist"!
    New petition text: Sehr geehrte Prof. Dr. Wanka,
    In the first place, please do allow us to clarify and assert that this petition does NOT seek to accuse or even label German society, in general, or even the individual academic we are accusing of discrimination as guilty of "racism" 'per se' (in our categorical and clear opinion, formed through some years of living and working in different universities in this country, there is much less of that here than in MANY other places in the world). We are, though, deeply perturbed by what is, self-evidently, deliberate discriminatory profiling of male Indian students by a senior German scientist, Prof. Dr. Annette Beck-Sickinger (Institute of Biochemistry, Leipzig University) AND her even more worrying claim that her perception about Indian male students being potential rapists and threats to her "many female students" is shared by "[m]any female professors in Germany", who are said to have "decided to no longer accept male Indian students" (www.quora.com/What-should-an-Indian-male-student-do-if-he-is-denied-an-internship-opportunity-on-the-basis-of-India-being-projected-as-an-unsafe-country-for-women)! Prof. Dr. Beck-Sickinger has, meanwhile, tendered a ham-handed apology, where she has made the apparently-false claim that she "never wrote the mail in this way, it has been put together from individual segments taken from different mails." (www.zv.uni-leipzig.de/service/presse/nachrichten.html?ifab_modus=detail&ifab_id=5955) Anyone with even a simple understanding of how screen-shots work will be able to realise that she DID, indeed, write these words in the two e-mails that have been made public by, presumably, a colleague of the student concerned. The University of Leipzig, apparently, feels that the strategy of putting the blame on the student for "not accept[ing] her reasoning and involv[ing] her in a discussion about the social conditions in Germany and India" is a good way to advertise itself as an equal-opportunities-employer. We know that Germany, as a country, wants skilled professionals and scientists from India and German universities want more and more Indian students and researchers. Our feeling, as Indian and international academics who work in/on India-related projects/themes, is that BOTH the historically-strong and multifaceted Indo-German relationship, which begun with the unique, wide-ranging, profound and incomparably-rich contributions of German and German-speaking Indologists and Indophiles to modern India's understanding of its 'classical' intellectual and material heritage, AND the present synergy between Europe's leading democracy and the world's largest democracy require a climate of honesty and openness. Our requests are:
    1. If what Prof. Dr. Beck-Sickinger claims, in her e-mail, is true, the 'BMBF' should institute an enquiry about the exact nature of this "deci[sion] to no longer accept male Indian students", which is supposed to have been reached by, as she claims, "[m]any female professors in Germany". How are such decisions taken, if at all, and does this imply that there are cloak-and-dagger vigilante bodies of German academics manipulating gender-relations and balances within academia to suit certain interests and/or perceptions about ethnic minorities and foreign communities, based on media-coverage of certain unfortunate events in foreign countries?
    2. If, again, what Prof. Dr. Beck-Sickinger claims, in her e-mail, is true, then, by ANY standards and WHATEVER be the reasons and/or motives, many German academics are guilty of what is, undeniably, discriminatory racial and gender-oriented profiling of Indians (this is NOT about women/men, ANY generalisation about a collectivity, based on isolated-- even if repeated-- incidents, perceived and/or actual, IS, exactly, racial profiling. Again, more reason for a federal enquiry to clear the air and dispel any misgivings about such manipulation; otherwise, this one incident will cause immense damage to the reputation of German academia amongst Indians.
    3. If, on the other hand, Prof. Dr. Beck-Sickinger's claims are false and/or delusional, how does the University of Leipzig propose to sanction her for blatant, open, well-documented and unapologetic racial profiling and allusion to a supposed discriminatory consensus amongst her peers? Given that we, too are academics and understand the pressures and compulsions of the domain, we should like to suggest that she be, at least, asked/advised to resign from her membership of ALL administrative and consultative bodies within the University of Leipzig.
    Thanking you for your time and attention, we remain
    Yours sincerely,
    Concerned All Concer

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