Bonn The University of Bonn is calling on its website for potential victims or witnesses to report to the police after an anonymous person reported that female students had been sexually assaulted during a student trip to Bergneustadt. Police and the public prosecutor's office are investigating.
As a university spokesperson confirmed to the GA on Friday upon inquiry, serious accusations had been made in an anonymous e-mail. The accusations included coercion into alcohol consumption and sexual harassment of female students. The university had posted a notice on its homepage, but only after there had been a media report and without actively sending out a press release, as is usual with other news from the university.
At this time, it is still completely unclear whether there is any truth to the accusations, the spokesperson said. The incidents are said to have occurred during the last university trip of medical students, which was attended by many freshmen. It is also unclear how many victims there might have been.
University of Bonn: No other cases of harassment known
"We can't say any more about this at the moment," the university spokesperson added. The university is not directly responsible for the trips organized by the student groups: "Ultimately, these are young people from 18 to 20's who organize and carry out these trips together". It is well known that people get "drunk" on such trips: "Of course this is a thorn in our side and we try to contain it as much as possible", said the spokesperson.
The anonymous letter mentions, among other things, that students were given strong alcohol poured through funnels. However, the university is not aware of any other possible cases of sexual harassment as described in the anonymous mail. The spokesperson stressed: "A speedy clarification (of what happened) is very important to us". The case now lies with the public prosecutor's office.
AStA of the University of Bonn: Aware of coerced alcohol consumption
The Student Union of the University of Bonn, AStA, also confirmed that it had become aware of the accusations on Thursday. "Our main concern now is to offer support and care to potential victims," chairwoman Lena Engel told the GA. The AStA is not aware of any other similar cases, but it is aware that students are coerced into alcohol consumption on trips, Engel said.
Even before first semester activities, the university's Equal Opportunities Office and the Department for Women and Gender Equality had pointed out problematic events such as "clothing chains". This is a party game in which the participants have to take off their clothes, which are then knotted into a chain. Some student groups then introduced protective measures and several planned "clothing chains" were cancelled, according to the AStA. "The prevention of sexual assaults must be the goal of all of us", Lena Engel stressed.
A spokesperson for the Bonn public prosecutor's office confirmed the incoming case on Friday. The anonymous letter reports about alcohol escapades during a trip to Bergneustadt in the Oberberg district. Male students are said to have exploited the drunken condition of female students for sexual purposes. According to GA information, the case has already been passed on to the public prosecutor's office in Cologne, which would be responsible for the alleged offenses in Bergneustadt.
(Orig. text: dpa/Anna Maria Beekes, Translation: ck)