Awareness Concept

Awareness concept of the queer department of the student council “Queer Campus” of the Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg

decided by the unit meeting on 25.01.2023, last modified by decision of the unit meeting on 25.01.2023.

What does Awareness mean?

Awareness includes a certain mindfulness, attentiveness and sensitization for a respectful interaction with each other. The ultimate goal is to observe and respect your own boundaries and needs and those of those around you. This concept is intended to provide guidance in this regard.

What are privileges and what do they have to do with discrimination?

Privileges enable people to move and develop in a self-determined way in our society without having to fear or experiencing a threat to their existence or other negative consequences. Discrimination is based on these unequal power relations in our society; on a personal or institutional level, different groups of people are favored (e.g. white, of German origin, heterosexual, endo-cisgender) and disadvantaged (e.g. black, trans*, disabled, neurodivergent, without German citizenship). This can happen intentionally or unconsciously. Due to lack of knowledge, lack of education and lack of visibility of disadvantaged groups of people, it can happen that we behave discriminatory towards a certain group, even without realizing it. Therefore, it is important that every person is aware of their privileges and learns to critically question them.

How does awareness work?

Our goal as a unit is to create a space that takes a stand against discrimination and harassment and that recognizes, names, and critically reflects on related statements or behaviors and seeks alternative courses of action. We want all members of the unit and visitors to be open to the perspectives of others, to reduce prejudice and to draw attention to discriminatory and insensitive behavior. We work in the unit with the goal of creating a safer space for all people. In other words, we strive to be as open and improvement-oriented as possible. In doing so, the concept provides guidelines and opportunities, but is not intended for judgments. Consequences due to gross boundary violations or permanently endangering behavior should always be dealt with as individual cases within the framework of the unit or the awareness team. The awareness concept does not make judgments about past mistakes or lack of knowledge about specific forms of discrimination.

Guidelines for togetherness

  • We treat each other with consideration.
  • Discrimination of any kind (racism, fatphobia, queerphobia (e.g. homophobia, transphobia, a-spec-phobia), sexism, ableism, saneism, classism, ageism) is not desired. What is discriminatory, everyone decides for himself.
  • Everyone decides for themselves what is pleasant for them and what goes too far. This power of definition is not subject to the statute of limitations, so it also works retroactively.
  • We set our own boundaries and respect them among ourselves as long as they are compatible and do not cross the boundaries of others.
  • We respect each other’s identities. This includes making a recognizable effort to use desired names, pronouns, and salutations, and not to question others’ identities or have to justify our own.
  • We ask questions considerately and always have the right not to answer questions.
  • We decide for ourselves if and when we are photographed, filmed or otherwise recorded and ask if we intend to do so.
  • We do not ridicule others, harass anyone, turn on anyone unintentionally, or hurt anyone unconsensually. Unconsensual violence of any form is not desired.
  • We listen actively, communicate respectfully without ridicule, insults or personal attacks.
  • We support each other when it is desired. Courageous behavior is expressly desired.
  • We are responsible for our own actions. This also means that we practice a culture of error: When behavior that is unpleasant for others is pointed out to us, we show insight and change our behavior if necessary without putting ourselves in a victim role. Conversely, we practice fault-friendliness: we are respectful when we point out unpleasant behavior to others. We want to grow together and also allow ourselves to be held accountable.
  • We act according to the consensus principle: We ask people if they want to be touched (e.g. hugged), if compliments, flirting, sexual and romantic come-ons are desired. We pay attention to verbal and non-verbal signals and especially to the well-being of neurodivergent (ADHD, autistic etc.) and a-spec (a_romantic and / or a_sexual) people.

The Awareness-Team

The awareness team are persons who receive a mandate for this position by decision of the unit meeting. The awareness officers are contact persons in case of problems and support, as desired, with a retreat, an open ear, in the search for possible courses of action, in finding common solutions and in implementing them. They also mediate in conflicts. They are also in charge of the anonymous mailbox, where concerns or questions can be left anonymously at any time. This is located here: The Awareness Team will treat all information shared with them as confidential. The team may share information with each other if necessary, but information will only be shared with explicit permission.

Queer Campus or groups with which the unit is in cooperation (e.g. awareness units) provide an awareness team for every major event. At the regular Stammtisch, Queer Campus tries to delegate an awareness person who is available for the whole evening. The requirement of the presence and availability of awareness persons at regulars’ tables cannot always be guaranteed. At events, individuals are present for the duration of the event, clearly identified, sober, and available. At larger events, they cooperate with faculty awareness units. The Awareness Team is volunteer and not professionally trained. Individuals pledge to assist when possible, but may also set their own boundaries and possibly refer to others on the team. Trauma dumping or similar should be avoided if possible.

Our possibilities

In most cases, it is sufficient to point out people’s problematic behavior as long as error culture and error-friendliness are practiced. Anyone who feels uncomfortable or would otherwise like support can contact the awareness team at any time in person or by e-mail at unterawareness.qcmd@pm.meheranziehen. All are free to decide for themselves what form of support they would like to take advantage of. In the case of repeated or more serious boundary violations and violations, the speakers can issue a warning. This is the last chance. In severe cases, in case of refusal to comply with the guidelines or in case of a new violation after a warning, the request to stay away from the Queer Campus and its events can be made. As a last resort, an arbitration board of the Stura can be convened via a meeting decision, which decides on an exclusion from the unit.