West Berlin's Free University, once bailed as an anti-communist stronghold but now branded as a hotbed of Germany's revolutionary student movement, faces possible closure this summer (Northern).
West Berlin's Free University, once bailed as an anti-communist stronghold but now branded as a hotbed of Germany's revolutionary student movement, faces possible closure this summer (Northern). Its rebellious left-wing students are determined to continue their "anti-authoritarian fight" against the city's establishment in and outside the university. Their aim is the eventual establishment of an "unrepressive peoples' university."
In May, 22 of the student leaders were suspended from the university for one or two years. They were held responsible for the violent protest action, faculty occupations and strikes of the last turbulent winter term.
In retaliation the students then locked out professors and teachers who, they said, were involved in the suspensions.
Lorry loads of riot police are standing by at the university and are often called to watch over seminars and lectures. Police patrols, linked by walkie-talkies, walk up and down the campus.
Fears are growing that the West Berlin City Government is considering closing the university if the situation does not improve.
Only a few thousand students are believed to support left-wing or socialist ideals.
Some even organise their own lectures, with a strong emphasis on socialist theories which were totally banned from the university's first postwar years.
The tense atmosphere on the campus is in sharp contrast to its beautiful surroundings. The Free University is situated in the city's most expensive residential areas in the American Sector districts of Dahlem and Zehlendorf and surrounded by parks and gardens.
The University was founded with American funds in 1948, during the Soviet blockade of Berlin's land access routes, when anti-communist students were sent down from East Berlin's Humboldt university.