Press Release: Cafe Palestine´s Victory Against the University of Freiburg
University of Freiburg´s refusal to let lecture hall to Cafe Palestine Freiburg found to be illegal
May 13th 2013
Last Friday, Cafe Palestine Freiburg won a landmark victory in the Administrative Court, when the refusal by the University of Freiburg to make available to Cafe Palestine a lecture hall for a presentation by Professor Christophe Oberlin of Paris on the topic "Plastic Surgery in Gaza" was found to be illegal.
The Court, consisting of three professional and two lay judges determined that the leeway granted to the University in the practice of its authority is limited by the principle of equal treatment and the right to freedom of opinion (though this does not of course include every opinion).
The reasons offered by the University in refusing use of a lecture hall were that the event might serve illegal and anti-constitutional aims and might lead to constitutional and legal violations which, according to the administrative regulations of the Ministry of Science (Wissenschaftsministerium) and the University’s own guideline, are grounds for refusal.
But the university failed to prove that the event might encourage constitutional and illegal violations and therefore was found to be abusing freedom of opinion.
Different than in the case of radio and TV stations of a public nature, the University does not have the duty to ensure a “balance of opinions” during private events in its space.
Instead, the university, according to its own self-assessment, is a place for intellectual discussion and therefore also a forum for critical and one-sided points of view.
The university may, within one month after receipt of the judgment submit an application to appeal to the Administrative Court Baden-Wuerttemberg in Mannheim