Social diversity in practice at diversu e.V. - "Equal treatment can lead to injustice".

2023-05-23 The Lüneburg Institute for Diversity, Nature, Gender, Sustainability - diversu e.V. - researches and advises on the topic of anti-discrimination and offers a contact point: both for people who experience discrimination and for those who want to further educate themselves in terms of diversity and awareness. They are also represented at Leuphana's Diversity Day this year.

"You don't look sick at all" - this is a sentence that people with non-visible limitations have certainly had to hear many times. These include, for example, chronic or mental illnesses. The diversu e.V. association provides information about the problems that people affected by discrimination of all kinds are confronted with. "The doors to the diversu office are always open for interested people," emphasises Dr. Christine "Nina" Katz. She was one of the founders of the association ten years ago and has been the managing director of diversu since 2018. Five employees work in the office in Lüneburg's Lindenstraße. Marielle Mangold is one of them. The cultural studies graduate has been organising events and projects on the topic of anti-discrimination at diversu for a year.

Was that just a stupid saying - or a discriminatory statement? Anyone who has experienced an unpleasant situation and cannot properly classify it can turn to Nina Katz and her colleagues: "We are a place where you can find out in the first place that what happened to you has to do with discrimination," she explains, "and that in such a case there is the possibility of taking legal action against it." They also received many requests for advice and cooperation from companies and institutions. "It all has something to do with the AGG, the General Equal Opportunities Act, because it stipulates that companies have to set up such complaints offices," says Katz, "but companies are also increasingly trying to establish a different culture for their employees.

One form of discrimination that is often not the focus of social discussion is so-called non-visible restrictions. This is precisely the reason why people who are affected by them do not see it from the outside - they are therefore often not taken into consideration in everyday life. Nina Katz knows such cases: "It can be, for example, that a person cannot cope with the tasks of an exam in the specified exam time because he or she does not have the necessary ability to concentrate." So far, she says, only a few people know that alternatives in the form of disadvantage compensation are available to those affected by such a diagnosis. "In such a case, treating everyone equally can lead to more injustice, and that's where we come in," explains Nina Katz, "we collect such grievances, then go into conversation with the institution and together try to work out options to ease the situation of those affected."

Leuphana has been working with diversu as an external counselling centre since June 2022. "All students and employees of Leuphana can approach us, even anonymously," says Nina Katz. Every Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., counsellors are available in room C 12.003 on campus - and beyond that at any time in the office at Lindenstraße 24 or via the association's online portal. "If someone comes to us with a problem but wants to sort it out first and doesn't want it to be passed on, of course we won't do that either - we protect those affected and have a ban on silence," emphasises Nina Katz. Additional projects and formats to facilitate access to counselling and to draw attention to the services on offer will be carried out at Leuphana this semester, say Katz and Mangold. Another opportunity to find out more is the Inclusive Solidarity Run on 10 June on the Sülzwiesen, which Leuphana alumna Marielle Mangold has organised and in which all interested parties are welcome.


  • Florentine Haack, M.A.