More than five percent of those employed here are recognized as severely disabled, and according to the 21st Social Survey of the German Student Services Organisation, 11% of all students surveyed throughout Germany stated that they had one or more impairments relevant to their studies. According to the survey, 6% of all students have an impairment that has a strong or very strong impact on their studies. "The proportion of students with impairments at the University of Erfurt will be at least of this order of magnitude, although we do not have any concrete figures on this," explains the University of Erfurt's Diversity Officer, Niklas Radenbach. "I assume that the proportion has even increased significantly since 2017. Especially also the proportion of students with mental illness." Against this background, he said, it is a declared goal of the university to support the affected individuals, to the best of its ability, and to enable them to participate in accordance with their individual needs.
This includes, for example, the removal of barriers to the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The University of Erfurt has drawn up a plan of measures for this purpose, which includes, among other things, compensation for disadvantages in study and examination performance as an important instrument for students. But also the needs-based design of the respective workplace for employees with disabilities is part of the measures. Other points include the removal of barriers in the structural area, but also through technical aids such as the so-called "hearing loops" in the lecture rooms on campus.
In addition, the topic of impairment is also increasingly present in research and teaching at the university - among other things, through the (re)appointment of professorships with thematic reference to inclusion.
"It is important - beyond concrete measures - to create an overall awareness of the issue, and indeed to sensitise people to it," says Franziska Gossen from the representative body for severely disabled persons at the University of Erfurt. And Niklas Radenbach adds: "The path to an inclusive university is thereby a learning process for the entire university. In order to successfully follow this path, exchange on campus is important. With the decision on our currently ongoing diversity audit, this process has gotten into a good flow. But even beyond this, there are many initiatives, groups and actors at the University of Erfurt who are committed to the interests of people with disabilities. The more that do so, the better we make progress."