A separate EU Parliament election story

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A separate EU Parliament election story

Postby Richard A » Sun May 26, 2019 11:46 am

While the UK in general has been debating who to vote for in the European Parliament elections (with the Brexit Party and UKIP screaming that these elections in the UK should never have been held, but still putting up candidates for them!), SOAS University of London has had a separate story. Also about a candidate for the European elections, but standing in Germany, not here. Dr. Gunnar Beck, a Reader (one rung down from full Professor in the UK system) in then the Law School, is/was (not sure which day Germany votes) a candidate for the AfD. When news of that broke 2 weeks ago, the university - particularly the students but also many of the staff - went nuts. There are (probably) campuses where standing for the AfD would be viewed as acceptable - SOAS is very definitely not one of them! The university management issued a statement saying it considers the policies of the AfD to be abhorrent, but academic freedom means that Beck is entitled to support them if he wants. Some accept that, others say: academic freedom does not extend to publicly endorsing a party that stands for the things that AfD does, even if it is a legal political party.

What has been interesting is that a lot of the press coverage has focused on Beck's portraying himself as a Professor, when he's just a Reader. I don't, to be honest, get that. In an international context, many use the term "professor" to mean any academic (I gave up long ago trying to get some of my students not to call me "Professor" - it just didn't work!). And Reader, in particular, is a junior professor in any case. But more to the point, what is more important: that he bumped his position up on his CV a bit or that someone who is teaching students from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds is not supporting but actually standing for a party that has explicitly expressed the views on them that AfD has.

But either way, this is likely to run and run.
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Re: A separate EU Parliament election story

Postby Arneb » Sun May 26, 2019 12:41 pm

I was going to ask you about him when I heard he is at SOAS. I thought a number of people might get upset about his political views, given what you told me about the atmosphere there.

However, his "CV bumping" is a thing over here. Putting the "Professor" title in your business card means that you have, in fact, to be a professor, and what is and is not a profossor in a foreign institutional context is not something you get to decide. You have to have your title reognized - AFAI by the Ministry for the Interior of the State you live in. Also, this man called himself "Fachanwalt für Europarecht", which he clearly is not: The title "Fachanwalt" (Specialized legal counsel) is conferred, after appropriate professional history and exams, to highly qualified lawyers - not somthing you get to call yourself. Also, Fachanwalt für Europarecht a specialty doesn't exist. So again, putting it on your business card (or a ballot, for that matter), is not a little bumping up of your CV, among friends and gentlemen but potentially, a criminal offence.

His behaviour fits the bill. His party is made of, in many cases, of somewhat shady characters with checkered professional and political lives. Although the party panders to anti-intellectiual and anti-establishment sentiment among its target population, having a Fachanwalt Prof. Dr. on their ballot is somthing to show off with.
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Re: A separate EU Parliament election story

Postby Heid the Ba » Sun May 26, 2019 4:33 pm

Milkshake for Dr Beck!
Get it up ye.
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