The concept of diversity is based on the approach of understanding human diversity positively and as a valuable potential that should be consciously promoted. This includes the appreciative recognition of differences and similarities of people in general and within the university, with its primary tasks of teaching and research in particular.
The different aspects of diversity encompass internal, external and organisational dimensions.
The University of Augsburg signed the 'Diversity Charter' in 2014.
It is based on an initiative by four companies in 2004, was established as a registered association in 2010 and is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration. The association is committed to anchoring diversity in business and society and wishes, in particular, to:
• Win more companies and institutions over to the principles of the Diversity Charter,
• Provide information about diversity management as an instrument for developing an appreciative and open organisational culture,
• Support the existing signatories in mutual learning and exchange of experiences in the area of the aims of the association,
• Support the existing signatories in implementing their diversity management.
Discrimination on the basis of origin and racial attribution means a devaluation and disadvantage of people on the basis of their (assumed) origin, their skin and hair colour, their (supposed) nationality or their language. It does not matter whether the attribution is actually true. In the higher education context, social origin, educational background and socio-economic status are also relevant.
Discrimination is based on prejudices and stereotypical ideas about certain groups of people and can manifest itself, for example, in exclusion from participation in resources and power through to open verbal racism.
The small number of non-white lecturers, professors and people with management responsibility at a university need not be an indication of discrimination processes, but at least raises questions and is a cause for self-reflection.
Gender and gender identity
Bias in access to resources and higher positions is the subject of multiple efforts to achieve equal opportunities between men and women. But the category of gender is more diverse and includes transgender and intersex as well as non-binary gender identities. Irritations about the overriding of one's own normative ideas in direct encounter and prejudiced attributions of the abilities of the people concerned have an impact on professional advancement - also at a university. Cultivating diversity at an academic institution always means systematically questioning one's own habitual thought patterns and the resulting behaviour patterns.
Freedom of religion is enshrined in Article 4 of the Basic Law. Just as no person may be discriminated against because they belong to a religious or ideological community, they may not be discriminated against or devalued because they do not belong to such a community. Discrimination is more likely to occur when religious affiliation is made visible through observance of religious rules and traditions, participation in certain festivals or through the wearing of certain items of clothing attributed to an ethnic origin.
Disability and chronic illness
People whose physical or mental health has been impaired for a long period of time or for life usually have to overcome higher hurdles in order to attain their right to education (Art. 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948). They consist in the fact that those concerned are not expected to achieve certain things. But even if restrictions go unnoticed, it can lead to exclusions and disadvantages. For this reason, universities also proactively counteract this by offering various possibilities for compensating for disadvantages. In terms of inclusion, however, it is not just about measures for those affected, but about designing a barrier-free study and work environment for all university members.
Body / age
Characteristics such as body weight or height can give rise to discrimination. Research has shown that taller people tend to have more success in their professional careers. People of smaller stature, however, have a harder time. Because of their age, younger people are more likely to be denied skills they already have or not be given certain tasks. On the other hand, at an advanced age people are denied flexibility or the ability to learn new things. It is important to bear this in mind at a university when, for example, older applicants seek admission to a degree programme and are going through an aptitude test.