At UKrant: Intense reactions from both sides in the Täuber matter

Every day, the editorial staff at UKrant wonders: What are we writing about, why are we writing about it, and how are we writing about it? ‘At UKrant’, an irregular column, we take a look behind the scenes.

It seems as though ever since the UG’s failed plans for a branch campus in the Chinese city of Yantai there hasn’t been an issue that’s divided the university as much as the Täuber matter.

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, a quick summary: 

Susanne Täuber was an expert in social safety at the UG. She was fired per May 1 after a long labour dispute that resulted in a court case in February. The UG says Täuber is impossible to work with and doesn’t abide by agreements. She says she’s being silenced because of her critical stance on the UG’s misogynistic policies.

The discord was on display not once, but twice on the steps of the Academy building, where protesting students supporting Täuber were cheered on by some and yelled at by others. 

Something similar happened here, on our website. Ever since UKrant started reporting on Täuber’s potential dismissal in February, readers have been fighting to either criticise Täuber and her supporters or the UG, and they weren’t always civil, either.

People were calling each other names, attacking one another personally

We’ve had to remove several dozen comments, which is quite a lot. People were calling each other names, attacking one another personally, calling for a water cannon to flush the protesters out of the Academy building, or firing colleagues who refused to work with Täuber.

There were plenty more nasty comments (from either side) that I won’t repeat here. There’s a reason we deleted them. It’s clear that the Täuber matter struck a nerve at the university.

People also started attacking UKrant itself. Some of Täuber’s supporters accused the editors of slavishly obeying the UG board, while others felt we were too much in favour of the ousted professor. Some people said the editors are to blame for escalating the matter by continuing to report on it, while others feel we haven’t done enough.

Either side has used the same arguments to point out just how biased we are: UKrant didn’t reflect the truth of the court case, UKrant didn’t read the judgment closely enough, UKrant is picking and choosing what to report on.

The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, which means UKrant did its job. 

Rob Siebelink, editor-in-chief UKrant

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