Student council

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The student council - also student council or student council ; often abbreviated to StuRa or SR - is a form of student representation at universities. Today, the term is mainly used in eastern Germany and Switzerland , however, due to locally different electoral and representation models, it sometimes denotes different bodies. In the majority of cases, it corresponds to the student parliament (StuPa) that is usual elsewhere and elects, for example, the General Student Committee (AStA) ; At some East German universities, however, it also combines legislative and executive functions.


The term student council - in contrast to the older student committee - first appeared during the November Revolution in 1918 in Germany, when based on the revolutionary workers 'and soldiers' councils at several universities, for example in Berlin formed, student councils. However, these were soon replaced by elected representatives, which - at the latest since the Würzburg Students' Day in 1919 - again assumed the traditional name of the General Student Committee.

After the Second World War , the term student council was used again for a few years , especially at universities in the Soviet occupation zone . However, the different name had no deeper meaning at the time, as the East German student councils, like the West German student committees, were composed of directly elected faculty representatives. In the course of the “socialist reorganization” of the East German higher education system, however, the student councils were dissolved at the beginning of the 1950s and replaced by the university group leaders of the GDR state youth Free German Youth .

During the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989/1990), the term came back to life, when the students of many East German universities forced the abdication of the FDJ management in a ballot and re-elected student councils to represent their interests. These temporarily formed a GDR-wide conference of student bodies (KdS) , which continued to exist even after joining the Federal Republic and only ceased its work in 1993.

Student councils today

East Germany

Even today, at many East German universities - in Saxony ( Section 25 SächsHSFG) and Saxony-Anhalt ( Section 65, Paragraph 2, Sentence 2 HSG LSA ), the central body of the student body is even anchored in the respective university laws - the designation student or often student council . It often combines legislative and executive functions there. Some StuRä, like an AStA, form from their midst units for certain areas of responsibility as well as an executive committee, the speaker council .

In the “classic” model, the student council is composed of representatives of the student councils ; there is therefore no separate (university-wide) StuRa option. In Saxony, this structure is even provided for by state law ( § 26 SächsHSFG, before January 1, 2009 § 76 SächsHG). In other federal states, however, there are also student councils which, analogous to the “West German” student parliaments, emerge from university-wide elections. However, the majority electoral system is still widespread at many East German universities , in which only individual candidates are available for election instead of competing lists. There are also often constituencies and minimum quotas for certain subjects or faculties .

Due to its emergence in opposition to the “political” FDJ, the StuRä emphasized its character as a “purely student” interest group, especially in the early days. As such, they wanted to express themselves primarily in relation to universities and study programs and to represent the students to the university and the state. An important, constitutive element of the student councils in this context was the imperative mandate , which, however, is no longer permitted by the current state laws. With reference to council democratic ideas, the StuRa model is still seen by its representatives as an alternative to the parliamentary system.

Mainly Western German critics considered the StuRa system against long time that it hinders political thought and action in effective categories and beyond his duties in a narrowed, interest representation political or corporative perceive approach. The lack of separation of powers , i.e. H. complained about the lack of control by a second body. However, since the traditionally more politicized student parliaments in West Germany, as evidenced by voter turnout, have been suffering from acceptance problems for years, newer considerations within the student body, for example at the universities of Mainz and Hanover, take up suggestions from the StuRa system and develop them further in the direction of a two-chamber system , in which the interests and skills of the student council should come to the fore.

West Germany

Occasionally there was and still is the term student council at West German universities. For example, the student parliament of the University of Göttingen was called the student council until at least the 1960s. In Bremen , the legislative electoral body of the student body is still referred to in the University Act as the Student Council (§ 45 BremHG). At the University of Augsburg there are student councils instead of student councils in some faculties . With the reintroduction of the constituted student body in Baden-Württemberg, student councils have also been constituted at some universities there - among others at the universities of Freiburg, Heidelberg and Tübingen as well as at the University of Ulm. These student councils, however, differ from one another in terms of the balance of power between student councils and university-wide elected lists.


Even in Switzerland there and gave it to the universities of Basel, Bern, Friborg, Lucerne and Zurich student or students' councils . As a rule, these are the elected legislative bodies of the respective student body and in this respect are basically comparable to the German student parliaments. The StuRa at the University of Zurich was a special feature because there had been no public law student body with its own contribution authority since 1978 . Although the StuRa was still anchored in the University Act as the official student representation and, for example, sent student representatives to university-wide committees, it no longer had its own budget. In 2012, the StuRa was replaced by the Association of Students of the University of Zurich (VSUZH), which is anchored in the Zurich University Act .


  • Udo Grashoff : Students on the move - independent student interest representation at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg 1987–1992 . Ed .: Zeit-Histories eV - Association for Experienced History. Mitteldeutscher Verlag, Halle (Saale) 2019, ISBN 978-3-96311-208-9 (112 pages).
  • Peer Pasternack : The StuRa-StoRy. Student interest representation in East Germany since 1989. In: Peer Pasternack and Thomas Neie (eds.): Stud. east 1989-1999. Change in the living environment and commitment of students in East Germany. Akademische Verlagsanstalt, Leipzig 2000, ISBN 3-931982-21-1 , pp. 28–53.
  • Uwe Rohwedder: At the end of the special path? Comments on ten years of student policy in East Germany. In: Federal Board of Juso University Groups (ed.): Student policy since reunification. Berlin 2000.
  • Malte Sieber and Ronald Freytag : Children of the System. GDR students before, during and after autumn '89. Morgenbuch, Berlin 1993, ISBN 3-371-00363-9 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Ulrich Linse : University Revolution. On the ideology and practice of socialist German student groups during the German revolution in 1918/19. In: Archives for Social History. Volume 14, 1974, pp. 1-14.
  2. Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk : Spirit in the service of power. University policy in the SBZDDR 1945 to 1961. Ch. Links Verlag Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-86153-296-4 .
  3. ^ Peer Pasternack : The StuRa-StoRy. Student interest representation in East Germany since 1989. In: Peer Pasternack and Thomas Neie (eds.): Stud. east 1989-1999. Change in the living environment and commitment of students in East Germany. Akademische Verlagsanstalt, Leipzig 2000, ISBN 3-931982-21-1 , pp. 28–53.
  4. ^ Malte Sieber and Ronald Freytag : Children of the system. GDR students before, during and after autumn '89. Morgenbuch, Berlin 1993, ISBN 3-371-00363-9 .
  5. At the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin , the speaker council is called the speaker council (with the addition of the statutory AStA ). There are also two student councils (possibly theology and economics), which refer to themselves as student councils (also with the addition of legal student council ).
  6. ↑ For example at the University of Rostock: Homepage of the StuRa at the University of Rostock. Retrieved May 16, 2019 .
  7. See , , , / (Accessed February 1, 2013)
  8. Archived copy ( Memento from January 18, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (accessed: February 1, 2013)
  9. VSUZH: Historical. Association of Students of the University of Zurich , accessed on May 16, 2019 .