Support in case of discrimination

Leuphana University of Lüneburg believes it is important for employees and students to work together in a spirit of trust and respect, free from discrimination, violence and the exploitation of relationships of dependency in the training and workplace as well as in study and teaching. In accordance with the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG), direct and indirect discrimination and violence, in particular on racist grounds, on the grounds of ethnic origin, gender, trans- or intersexuality, religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation or social origin, are not tolerated. They constitute a violation of personal rights, especially human dignity.

excerpt from "Guideline of the Senate for Protection against Discrimination, Violence and Sexual Harassment at Leuphana University"

What is discrimination?

Discrimination is understood to mean exclusions and disadvantages that cannot be objectively justified. People are disadvantaged on the basis of a characteristic or a (real or assumed) attribution such as gender, gender identity, national, ethnic or social origin, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation, skin colour or language. These can happen in direct contact with others or indirectly through supposedly neutral procedures, regulations or criteria. It is not the motive but the result that is decisive for the discriminatory behaviour.

Harassment occurs when unwanted conduct has the effect of violating the dignity of the person concerned. This happens in particular when an environment is created that is characterised by intimidation, humiliation and insults.

Multiple discrimination: Experiences of discrimination cannot often be isolated from each other. Depending on the situation, people may experience recognition or exclusion based on one or more characteristics. Different forms of discrimination can interact. Multiple discrimination therefore primarily describes specific experiences that are associated with this

What to do about it?

  • speak to friends or family about your experience
  • try to collect evidence or to document the situation you experienced. Make use of a memory log or keep a kind of "diary" to document prolonged discrimination.
  • in case of online discrimination: Save e-mails or make screenshots of compromising texts.
  • talk to witnesses and ask for support (within the situation but also when witness reports are needed).
  • approach a person of trust or a counselling centre

Those involved hear (and often have internalised) that they themselves are the "problem". The concept of discrimination can strengthen them, because it grasps the behaviour as injustice. This places the responsibility differently and opens up possibilities for action, because one can fight back against discrimination. Nevertheless, those affected think very carefully about when and to whom they name discrimination. They fear rejection and resistance or are often unaware of their own possibilities for action. (Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency, 2013)

Anti-discrimination work means actively standing up against discrimination by counselling and supporting people who are affected by discrimination. You are welcome to take advantage of the opportunity to receive counselling. Internal and external counselling services are presented below.

First consultation at equal opportunities office

The Equal Opportunities Office offers support and advice to all members and affiliates of Leuphana in cases of unequal treatment. The central Equal Opportunities Officer and her team provide independent and confidential advice in a protected setting. They are also committed to reduce structural causes of discrimination through prevention, awareness-raising and networking, and to promote respectful interaction at the university.  

We offer initial counselling to clarify your situation and needs and to strengthen your ability to act. If necessary, we can refer you to specialised counselling centres. Counselling languages are German, English and Russian.

Do you have questions, would you like advice or are you unsure who to contact? Please feel free to reach out to us: Dr Kathrin van Riesen, Valentina Seidel or Dr Anja Thiem.

Are you affected by sexualised discrimination and violence? Theinformation portal "Against sexual harassment" offers information material on prevention as well as an overview of support options in cases of sexualised discrimination and violence at Leuphana and beyond.

You are looking for further counseling options? An overview of internal and external contact points.

Counselling difficult teaching-learning contexts

Even in difficult teaching-learning contexts, you can turn to internal and external university counselling centres with concerns and questions: This can be the case if students have concerns about taking an examination from certain persons or if teachers have concerns about taking examinations from certain persons (keyword "bias").

If there is a concern about bias, it must be a matter of concrete facts that can be verified. The subjective feeling of being "treated unfairly" is not sufficient. It is helpful to document the incident. Information on documentation can be found in the section "What to do in case of discrimination" on this page (keyword: memory log).  

It is also advisable to seek counselling as early as possible if concerns arise. The following agencies provide advice in difficult situations that may arise in teaching-learning contexts:

University internal

Student Services

  • Support with administrative and exam-related questions for all schools and degree programmes


Anti-discrimination counseling at Leuphana in cooperation with diversu e. V.

Members of the university have access to the independent anti-discrimination counseling service of diversu e.V. Within the counseling, those affected receive support from specifically trained advisors. Together, expectations and goals are clarified and strategies for action are developed. The counseling sessions are confidential and can take place on the university campus or in the offices of diversu e.V.'s anti-discrimination counseling center. From May 2024 the counselors are available every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on campus in C 12.003. Exeptions are 29 May, 24 June and 16 October when no counselling will take place. 

During the semester break (27.7.2024- 22.9.2024), consultation hours will only take place on Wednesday 21.8. from 9:00-11:00 a.m. Contact with the Anti-Discrimination Office is also always possible outside of consultation hours: Mail: Phone: 015128194627.

Counseling needs and incidents can be reported anonymously via diversu e.V.'s online reporting portal. 

Through the cooperation with diversu e.V., Leuphana offers members of the university a low-threshold and independent counseling service in the field of anti-discrimination. At the same time, the preventive work of the university on the structural protection against discrimination is supported and promoted.

About the anti-discrimination counseling center of diversu e. V.

The independent anti-discrimination counseling center advises people who have experienced discrimination and are seeking clarification and/or support. The counselors speak German and English. Consultations in other languages are possible with the help of language mediators from the team.

For more information about the anti-discrimination counseling center and the possibilities of counseling and contacting, please visit the website of diversu e. V.

Useful links

How does counseling against discrimination work? (Video in different languages) by Antidiskriminierungsverband Germany

counselling offer at Federal Anti-discrimination Agency

Guideline: Protection against discrimination at universities

The Amadeu Antonio Foundation has published a series of flyers on group-related misanthropy. These include ableism (devaluation of people with disabilities), classism (discrimination based on social origin),  racism and sexism.