Press release: Joint statement by the Presidential Board, Senate, and Deans on the honorary doctorate of Gerhard Schröder
No. 46 - 27.04.2022
IN PUBLICA COMMODA – FOR THE GOOD OF ALL is the motto on the foundation medal of the University of Göttingen, known as the Georgia Augusta, and in its mission statement, in which it commits itself to using its strengths to shape a humane, tolerant and peaceful world. The University is thus unreservedly committed to peace and justice in the world. Research and teaching also serve this goal. These ethical principles offer all members of the University, and, in particular, the recipients of the University's awards, a framework and orientation against which their individual and social actions have to be measured.
Against the backdrop of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, which constitutes a breach of international law, the University is therefore consistently following the political directive to put all university and research collaborations as well as economic transactions with Russia on hold – in some cases with considerable disadvantages for its members. At the same time, we welcome researchers and students to the University who have been driven from their homeland by the war and strive to create a safe place for them to study, research and live.
For the University of Göttingen, it is therefore incomprehensible that former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, a distinguished alumnus and honorary doctor of our University, even after weeks of bitter warfare and an ever-worsening humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine, does not clearly describe the criminal war of aggression as such and at least suspend his activities in Russian companies. Holding on to offices within the economic apparatus of the aggressor is incompatible with the mission statement of the University of Göttingen and its values and goals stated there.
Discussions with him, in which he also described to us his efforts to end the war, could not dispel our concerns, even though we welcome every effort to end the war of aggression, which breaks international law, as soon as possible.
The University of Göttingen therefore calls on Gerhard Schröder to resign his honorary doctorate.
The Presidential Board, the Academic Senate and the Deans of the University of Göttingen.