University Election 2021 – TUM Department of Informatics
Policy Statement: ELIZA
Electoral List Informatics for Zany Acronyms
Dear fellow students,
we are active members of the Informatics student council who are running for the student council election in 2021.
We would like to keep the work in the faculty council transparent for interested students within the scope of the legal possibilities. The discussion of committee work and decision-making at the student council meetings (which all faculty students can attend) will continue to be fundamental to our work.
This list is not affiliated with any party or political organization.
Constituted Student Body
- We are committed to the reintroduction of a constituted student body (verfasste Studierendenschaft) and see this as the most important step towards a future-oriented higher education landscape. This move will enable the participation and self-reliance of the student body in accordance with democratic, pluralistic principles. We are firmly opposed to a fundamental, supposedly “innovative” transformation of Bavaria’s higher education landscape that eschews this change.
TUM as an
- A return to face-to-face courses must be handled in such a way that the continuation of purely digital modules is normally excluded. We are in favor of lecture recordings and streams and welcome concepts that can help in cases such as studying while being a parent. Nevertheless, we would like TUM to remain a campus-based, in-person university. An annual refreshing of lectures instead of a reuse of the previous year’s recordings on the part of lecturers represents a minimum expectation of teaching commitment.
Support for diversity in its many forms must continue to flourish at TUM. This includes the contact persons for equal opportunities, the IFF (Informatik-Forum Frauen) and the Diversity & Queer Department of the AStA, but also the networking meetings for students of foreign origin funded and organized by the DAAD. Within the department, it is important to continue the discourse on disadvantages.
The renovations of the Magistrale to improve accessibility, for example, are laudable, but there is still a need to catch up due to the general lack of electronic door openers. In addition, we must work towards an expansion of BAföG at a cross-university level (particularly with supplemental pay appropriate to the city) as well as government support for the student unions (Studierendenwerke) in order to strengthen these cornerstones of affordable university life for all social backgrounds.
- The school transition, i.e. the merger of the Departments of Informatics, Mathematics, and Electrical Engineering into the SoCIT (School of Computation, Information, and Technology), should be handled pragmatically. While cross-school collaboration of the student councils will be fundamental for the integration, the autonomy of the student councils within “professional profiles” on the issues relevant to them must be maintained.
- The three departments will bestow SoCIT with a serious room shortage, which is already felt across the board at the Garching campus—even at StudiTUM, which had opened 2019. We must continue to make it clear to University Management and the relevant authorities that the existing situation is unacceptable for in-person courses and precludes the vision of a livable “campus culture” in Garching from the get-go. This need for space, exacerbated by creation of numerous new professorships was regrettably counterbalanced by neglecting the academic mid-level employees, which was also at the expense of teaching: the high proportion of student tutors in teaching bears witness to this. When future expansions of SoCIT take place in Garching, we therefore believe that the distribution of space in existing buildings must also be reconsidered. For example, any MI study rooms (Glaskästen) freed up by relocations should be made available to students.
Small Degree Programs
- Even though the Bachlor and Master Informatics degree programs are by far the most common degrees at our faculty, smaller degree programs cannot be neglected. We demand that the university budget secures the financing of the coordination for all degree programs. The availability of this financing should also be a prerequisite for the creation of new degree programs. This way, we can pragmatically ensure that the contact persons and advocates of various study programs are not only found at the level of the student representation. Insofar as the study programs are linked to specific professorships, these must also have the capacities to fill an appealing course catalog.
The use of third-party funds at TUM regrettably plays a major role in enabling day-to-day operations—even outside of research. When using these funds, however, it must not be forgotten that the university is first and foremost a public institution. Therefore, sponsorship of university offerings more broadly must not be presided over unilaterally, but must be vetted by the student body to avoid long-term entrenchment of the measures. Among other things, when third-party funding is used to enable research, the department and university risk neglecting the quality of courses offered by the affected chairs.
We do not demand a categorical refusal to pass on job and thesis offers from third parties, since career fairs and posters, for example, can represent added value for students. Comparable offers, however, must also exist for unions at TUM, since substantial numbers of students are employed at the university (for example, as tutors).
- Since student representation enjoys protection at the constitutional level in Bavaria, university elections should be subject to similar protective masures as other elections. This is yet another reason why, in our view, an online election is not a viable alternative to the in-person and mail-ballot voting formats.
- We welcome the increasing use of open-source alternatives to proprietary offerings which can come with unfavorable tradeoffs regarding privacy, and are pleased that this is particularly pronounced at the Department of Informatics. (TUMExam+BBB instead of Proctorio, BBB instead of Zoom, Matrix/Element/Zulip instead of Slack/Discord.) However, these conditions don’t exist in Anwendungsfächer and exported modules from other departments. In these cases, we will need to work with professors to improve on the status quo.
In order to effect long-term improvements to campus life, pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly redesigns must be made at the Garching Campus. Concretely, traffic-calming measures between the Riedmair bakery and the StudiTUM could contribute to this by easing cyclist and pedestrian crossings towards the cafeteria or subway station at peak times.
The supplemental food offerings through the three food trucks at the Garching campus must remain and, if possible, be expanded. Inexpensive meals cannot necessarily be expected from the new GALILEO building (particularly due to its secondary use as a hotel.)
- Since the BSc. study program should also prepare students for their Bachelors’ theses, it is necessary to set appropriate academic standards well in advance. When papers prepared for BSc. seminars and practical courses are evaluated, a high quality of feedback must be expected for formal requirements such as citations.
- Student initiatives accredited by the university-wide student council should continue to be able to use the Magistrale rooms for their activities at times when a restriction of space for individual study does not result. Solutions similar to the StudiTUM’s rolling lockboxes would be an effective way to make these opportunities more attractive.
All candidates for university-wide elections 2021 (Requires TUM login)
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