Cut our tuition...or the fish die

September 13, 2002

Tuition fees of €500 (£317) a semester - to take effect in 2004 - have provoked a hostage crisis in the city of Hamburg.

Fees are so controversial in Germany that when the government of Hamburg announced plans earlier this year to impose fees on those from outside the region, the Hamburg University branch of the student union AStA took three goldfish hostage.

The fish - named "Tuition-free Education", "Democracy at the University" and "Self-determined Study" - were held in the student union's Hamburg University office.

Grateful for news in a traditionally quiet period, the tabloid newspaper Bild treated the affair as a crisis of historic proportions with headlines such as "Hostage drama at Hamburg University" and "Leftwing students kill fish".

Hamburg state senator for science and research Jörg Dräger was drawn into the controversy, publicly denouncing the campaign as "questionable and inappropriate".

To ensure that the fish were being looked after, however, he made sure that two packs of goldfish food - labelled "Quality" and "Innovation" - were delivered to the beleaguered fishbowl.

Bild readers inundated AStA with hate mail, and the students were forced into making a statement in which they admitted that the goldfish belonged to one of their members and would be returned shortly.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns