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Niels Luithardt
© Kerstin Nees

Niels Luithardt

Diversity as an opportunity

Niels Luithardt cannot see the formulas that his lecturers write on the board. The mathematics and physics student is blind. Together with Lisa H., the two Inclusion Officers of the General Student Committee (AStA) campaign for better accessibility at the university.

 

 

How can you, and other students with disabilities or chronic illnesses, be supported even better during your studies?

The most important thing is that their wishes, concerns, hardships and needs must be taken seriously. There is, for example, compensation available for any disadvantages suffered by people with a disability or chronic illness. Those affected can obtain the correct form of assistance for their specific needs, through the Examination Office and institutes. But only a few people know about this, and it can be very difficult to submit an application. You have to grapple with your own disability. But it’s worth the effort. I now always do my examinations orally.

What are the problems brought to you as Inclusion Officer?

We, but also our colleagues at the Department for International Students and the Queer advice team, are repeatedly described situations in which people are discriminated against or at a disadvantage in everyday university life. The spectrum ranges from subconscious to conscious, verbal, or even active discrimination on campus.

How can the audit procedure help the students here?

Good study conditions, and a welcoming and inclusive culture must be created. The audit is intended to ensure that diversity is perceived as an opportunity, as an enrichment and not as a threat. The audit helps to raise sensitivity and awareness. Thinking is joined together and connected ever more. The advisory structure, and additional offers related to inclusion and diversity, are being strengthened.

This interview was conducted by Raissa Maas