Standing together against xenophobia, discrimination, and violence

A Call from Institutions of Higher Learning in North Rhine-Westphalia and the Ministry of Science

Alarmed by the increasingly negative attitudes and actions towards foreigners in our country, we are joining together to advocate resolutely against racism and violence. Tirades of hate and inflammatory speech, as articulated on the Internet and in public protests, among other venues, have no place at our institutions of higher learning or in our society at large. Universities and colleges are places where the subject of refugees is discussed in a fair, respectful, and objective way and solutions are found. This requires open-minded thinking, free exchange, a plurality of opinions, and tolerance.

As current events have shown, we are being challenged to preserve such a tolerant environment of coexistence and keep working towards strengthening our welcoming culture of inclusion. We must not allow our peaceful way of living together to come under the threat of inhumane hate speech and crimes.
International students and researchers are expressly welcome at our institutions of higher learning. Working together with these individuals positively impacts and enriches our research and scientifically based teaching. The approximately 82,000 foreign students in North Rhine-Westphalia are testament to our open-mindedness to the world and our international orientation, which distinguish our institutions of higher learning.
Providing training and education to the growing number of refugees in Germany is an important issue to us. In order to do this, we are implementing a diverse range of programs and numerous initiatives. We stand firmly against every kind of hostility towards foreigners in Germany and Europe. We thus call upon the students, teachers, and staff at our institutions of higher learning to get involved and carry this commitment forward.