Goethe University Frankfurt offers support to organizers of Westend Campus protest camp

In the dispute that emerged over the temporal and spatial overlap between a protest camp planned by climate protection activists of End Fossil: Occupy (Frankfurt) and Goethe University’s traditional summer festival, the administrative court of Frankfurt municipality on June 23, 2023, rejected the activists’ appeal against the authorities’ allocation of an alternative area for the protest camp. The authorities had assigned the alternative space because of the overlap in both time and place with the university’s long-planned summer festival.

“The annual summer festival is an important event for students and employees alike,” emphasized University President Prof. Enrico Schleiff. “Plans and preparations for the festival have been ongoing for months, including with the involvement of the AStA students’ union.” The university had handed in the festival registration to the relevant authorities on April 13. On June 6, the authorities received a protest camp registration on the part of End Fossil: Occupy!, which coincides with the date of the summer festival as well as some of the space earmarked for the festivities. This temporal and spatial overlap appears to have been the result of coordination shortcomings within the municipal authority.

“This conflict could easily have been avoided if the university, as the owner of the area in question, had been informed early on about the proposal for the camp,” Schleiff said. Instead, the university found out about the plans – and the resulting potential conflict of use – by chance. As soon as this happened, the university approached End Fossil: Occupy! to find a solution agreeable to all parties. “At the same time, we immediately began scouting options that would allow the camp to take place even in the case of a relocation, and identified the necessary infrastructure, including electricity and water supply, as well as sanitary facilities – necessary prerequisites for the authorities to approve such requests. Incidentally, this list of requirements was only made available to us in the context of last Friday’s administrative court proceedings.”

The university endeavors to ensure that the activities planned by End Fossil: Occupy! will not be impacted by the relocation, and remains in close contact with the group. “As an institution, the university is firmly committed to the fundamental right to freedom of assembly and respects every form of peaceful protest,” Schleiff said.

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