NewsUniversity faculty 'in shock mode' after killing spree

University faculty 'in shock mode' after killing spree

An 18-year-old student kills a fellow student in the lecture hall and injures three other people. At Heidelberg University, the question is how to proceed after the killing spree.

Heidelberg – After the killing spree in a lecture hall at Heidelberg University, the affected faculty is temporarily suspending its face-to-face events for students in the first semester.

This initially applies until the planned central funeral service on Monday, said the Dean of the Faculty of Biosciences, Jochen Wittbrodt, of the German Press Agency. “As a lecturer, I would also feel very strange if I had to go into a closed lecture hall now.” In higher semesters, minutes of silence and times for exchange are planned for courses.

The building where the shots were fired remains closed

On Monday, an 18-year-old student from the faculty shot a 19-year-old and a 20-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man in a lecture hall during a tutorial, mainly for freshmen. A 23-year-old student later died as a result of a shot in the head. The alleged shooter killed himself after the fact. The building with the lecture hall where the shots were fired will remain closed for the time being, said Wittbrodt, head of the faculty.

Students and lecturers are “in shock mode” after the events. Nevertheless, a digital meeting of the faculty with more than 170 participants took place on Tuesday, and university rector Bernhard Eitel was also there. “Above all, we tried to inform the students and make them offers,” emphasized Wittbrodt. When it comes to psychological care, “no one should fall through the cracks”.

Encouraging students to participate in face-to-face operations

A sense of proportion is now required for the upcoming tests, said Wittbrodt. An exam on Wednesday (January 26) was suspended, and there will be alternative dates for others. “We also give the students the opportunity to take part in the exams,” said Wittbrodt. “But if you notice in the meantime that it’s not working, a short signal is enough. Then this exam doesn’t count.”

After a certain time, students at the faculty want to be encouraged to “closer to face-to-face operations” again, emphasized Wittbrodt. “Biosciences is a very practical subject, more than 50 percent of the course is internships.” In addition, a certain amount of routine is also useful when dealing with what has been experienced.

No further security checks

He doesn’t think additional security checks are the right way to go, said Wittbrodt. “It’s a completely natural reaction, but I can’t imagine that at a university as free as Heidelberg.” Many students argued similarly at yesterday’s digital meeting. “The broad answer was: I wouldn’t feel comfortable on campus if I was x-rayed like at the airport,” said Wittbrodt.

The chairman of the State Rectors’ Conference of the Universities and Rector of the University of Hohenheim, Stephan Dabbert, said: “The universities see themselves as cosmopolitan educational institutions where exchange and communication take place even in these difficult times; they are therefore part of an open society. Restrictions on access with security-oriented control measures run counter to this self-image.”

However, that does not mean that the universities are helpless in emergency situations. “All state universities have emergency and crisis plans – in the case of Heidelberg, these also took effect, so that the emergency services could be on site within a few minutes,” said Dabbert. dpa

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