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Defending the Academic Fortress (1970)

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Report on rioting at Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich

In the summer semester of 1969, seven lectures with about 1,500 students in total had to be suspended on account of systematic disruptions and terror acts by extremist groups. A number of other lectures and seminars, especially in the philosophy, political science, and law departments, were disrupted to such an extent that the instructors needed nerves of steel and had to make considerable efforts to continue teaching until the end. One professor, for example, conducted his lectures in army fatigues because he was constantly bombarded with eggs and tomatoes.

Professors Ferid and Pfister suffered acute heart attacks after disturbances and had to suspend their lectures on the advice of their doctors. Numerous professors required medical attention as a result of the excessive physical and psychological stress they were exposed to in their lectures and seminars, which were frequently in danger of being interrupted or broken up. One of the most outstanding scholars at the university, Professor Hermann Kunisch (modern German literary history), whose health had suffered greatly on account of the repeated interruption of one of his lecture classes, had to request early retirement.

Serious property damage was caused when the Department of Theater History was forcefully occupied; the same can be said for the Department of Sociology. The departments of Romance languages, art history, sociology, and theater studies were graffitied to such an extent that their condition became “unacceptable.” Aside from the property damage caused in the Department of Theater Studies (including the forceful breaking down of the doors), graffiti caused about 10,000 DM worth of damage to the university.

[ . . . ]

Source: “Freiheit der Wissenschaft” [“Academic Freedom”], Rheinischer Merkur, November 13, 1970.

Translation: Allison Brown

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