Rampage Heidelberg: Lecture hall remains closed – university faculty ‘in shock mode’

panorama Heidelberg

University faculty members ‘in shock mode’ after agitation – lecture hall remains closed

“Unsurpassable in Tragedy”

A student was killed in a rampage at Heidelberg University and three fellow students were injured. Investigators are now searching for the motive of a biology student who suddenly attacked people in a lecture hall.

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An 18-year-old student kills a classmate in a lecture hall and injures three other people. At Heidelberg University, lecturers and students now face the question of how to proceed after the frenzy.

nAfter a killing spree in a lecture hall at Heidelberg University, the affected faculty temporarily suspended its live events for students in the first semester. This applies initially until the date of the central funeral service scheduled for Monday, Dean of the Faculty of Biological Sciences, Jochen Wittbrot, told dpa. “As a lecturer, I would also feel strange if I had to go to a lecture hall that is now closed.” In the upper classes, minutes of silence and times of exchange are planned for the courses.

On Monday, an 18-year-old student shot a 19-year-old woman, a 20-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man in a lecture hall during an educational program, especially for freshmen. A 23-year-old student later died as a result of being shot in the head. Whitbrot, the college’s president, said the alleged shooter killed himself after the accident.

Students and lecturers are ‘in shock mode’ after the events. However, a digital meeting of the college was held with more than 170 participants on Tuesday, and the university’s president, Bernard Eitel, was also present. “Above all, we tried to inform the students and make presentations to them,” Wittbrodt emphasized. When it comes to psychiatric care, “no one should fall through the cracks.”

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Wittbrodt said a sense of proportion is now needed for upcoming tests. One of the tests has been suspended on Wednesday (January 26), and there will be alternate dates for the others. “We also give students the opportunity to take part in exams,” Wittbrot said. “But if in the meantime they notice that it is not working, it is enough to send a short signal. Then this exam does not count.”

No more planned security checks

Wittbrot emphasized that after a certain period, students at the college would like to be encouraged to “get close to face-to-face operations” again. “Biological Sciences is a very practical subject, over 50 percent of the course is an internship.” In addition, a certain amount of routine is also useful when dealing with what has been experienced.

Whitbrot said he doesn’t think additional security checks are the right way to go. “It’s a completely normal reaction, but I can’t imagine that in a free university like Heidelberg.” Several students argued similarly at Tuesday’s digital meeting. “The general answer was, ‘I wouldn’t feel comfortable on campus if I had an X-ray at the airport,'” Whitbrot said.

President of the Conference of Rectors of Universities and President of the University of Hohenheim, Stefan Dabert said: “Universities see themselves as global educational institutions where exchange and communication take place even in these difficult times; so they are part of an open society. Restrictions on access using security control measures conflict with this self-image” .

But this does not mean that universities are powerless in emergency situations. “All public universities have contingency and crisis plans in place – in the case of Heidelberg, these plans are in place, so that emergency services can be on site within a few minutes,” Dabbert said.


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