Diversity@UdS

It is our goal to contribute to a university environment where according to the UdS Diversity Policy all the students and employees feel welcome to study, research and work without experiencing any form of discrimination due to behavior or policies. The Diversity @ UdS project will expand the work through the lens of 'Intersectionality' as defined by Prof. Kimberlé Crenshaw. This project takes further steps to incorporate equal opportunities for minority groups at Saarland University and provides a platform to address their concerns or experiences.

Diversity @ UdS is a project of the Equal Opportunities and Diversity Management Unit at Saarland University since August 2019.  It aims to support and celebrate campus diversity due to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability and chronic illness, national origin, religion, language, age, family status and other different backgrounds.

 

    Events and Offers

    Please note: Following projects are paused/postponed

    Diversity Night: We recognize the need for highlighting the diverse characteristics of the students and staff and for them to feel welcome and accepted here at Saarland University. As a result, we plan to organize our first 'Diversity Night' on campus. The Diversity Night was originally going to take place in the 2021 summer semester. Due to the current situation, we have however decided to postpone the event until further notice.

    The project F.R.A.U. (Female Refugees at Saarland University) would like to offer women who are refugees and women with a migration background a platform for communication, networking and provide information on a variety of services offered at Saarland University. The online offers have been paused until we can offer meetings on the campus. 

     

     

    We welcome opportunities to collaborate and share with other offices of the university that would like to participate in strengthening the sense of community at our university. If you are interested in collaborating, we can be reached via the contact information below. 
    Students and employees with experiences of discrimination of any kind are also explicitly encouraged to contact us with their needs, problems, and experiences. If necessary, we are also happy to confidentially assist in contacting appropriate individuals or organizations. 
    Faculties and chairs interested in organizing information events and workshops around the topic of diversity and inclusion are also welcome to contact us: diversity@uni-saarland.de

    Diversity at the university

    What is Diversity and why it matters at Saarland University?

    "Acceptance of diversity would enhance the participation of individuals and communities that otherwise feel unwanted and marginalized." - source unknown 

    The term 'diversity' has become increasingly vital in academics, research, government as well as the corporate world. A higher education institution as a center for knowledge, innovation, and international collaboration must acknowledge diverse backgrounds of its students and employees. Many German universities promote gender equality for women, family-friendliness, and disability inclusion whereas efforts to address broader spectrum of diversity & equity are sparse. An organization like Saarland University needs motivated and competent employees to realize its ambitions. It wants to attract and retain highly qualified and committed people in research, teaching, transfer, continuing education, technology, administration and management. Hence, it must enable inclusiveness and equal opportunities, ensure information and participation, and offer good working conditions and reliable career prospects. This requires a holistic understanding of diversity, leadership and organization. The UdS works to ensure that all its members can develop their potential to the best of their abilities.  

    Simultaneously, Saarland University, located in the tri-border regions, has a unique place to attract students from different European regions. About 20% of the students come from abroad from 120 nations around the world. People with diverse backgrounds such as first-generation students, students with disability and chronic illness, students with care responsibilities, students who identify as Queer and Transgender as well as students from multiple religious and migratory backgrounds who speak different languages come here. Saarland University strives to reflect social diversity within the university as well and seeks to attract students who are underrepresented in this sense. It critically reflects on the common ways of access, but also on its everyday practice in dealing with diversity, with conflicts and discrimination. At the same time, the university wants to offer students more opportunities and possibilities to develop their talents. . 

     
    Intersectionality

    For the diverse community to succeed, we must tackle the difficult topics of power, discrimination, and privilege within the system. Law Professor Kimberle Crenshaw developed the concept of intersectionality that helps to identify the advantages and disadvantages experienced by people based on the combination of their social and political identities. Most of us have a combination of identities that give us privileges and disadvantages. Through intersectionality lens, one can assess their power and privilege due to belonging to a certain group and how their group benefits at the cost of another group. 

    Sometimes people argue that they are not directly involved in intentional discrimination of another individual and treat everyone equally. However, it is crucial to understand how historical as well as contemporary systems and structures often benefit one group more than the other. The impact of which is felt over many years and different generations.  

    If we look at the higher education structure, we will agree that in current times access to university education is a privilege. Individual traits of intelligence and grit are vital yet there are many other variables that make access to higher education easier for some than others irrespective of their intellectual or creative abilities. It goes back to access to good childhood education, teachers who believed in you, and parents who advocated on your behalf as well as provided for basic needs and safety. Other criteria such as German as a primary language, access to money, ability to participate in personal development activities, access to urban resources, safe school experiences instead of bullying, adds up to how one is prepared to function within this structure. The lower your score here, the higher the struggles and barriers you need to overcome to make it to the university. Yet, there are many among us who have reached here despite the challenges. When we acknowledge diversity, we acknowledge the barriers people overcame to find their path to this university. In doing so, we also acknowledge those who could not gain access to higher education and those who reached here but failed by our existing system because their learning and interpersonal needs found little or no support.