The structures operate like this: All members of the university are called to elections on a regular basis to cast their votes for the various decision-making bodies (exceptions to this are the University Council and the Presidential Board, which are not elected by the members of the university). Every member of the university has both active and passive voting rights. Group voting rights are applied.
Universities consist of four status groups: students, professors, academic staff and technical and administrative staff. These four groups elect their candidates for the seats allocated to each of the groups. This takes place on two levels: the university level and the faculty level.
The students form by far the largest group at the FH, accounting for about 14,000 members. The students therefore have their own bodies specifically for their concerns and self-administration at the university level.
University Policy Committees
The student parliament (short: StuPa) is the highest decision-making body of the student body. All students at the FH are eligible to cast their votes in order to staff all 17 seats.
The meetings of the student parliament generally take place once a month and are open to the public, so that interested parties have the opportunity to attend.
Responsibilities of the StuPa include:
- Resolutions on changes to contribution rates
- Approval of large-scale projects of the AStA and the student councils
- Election of the AStA board and approval of the representatives
- Control of the AStA and the finances
Apart from that, the student parliament decides on major projects and general matters of the student body, e.g. the holding of a ballot or the amendment of the semester ticket contract.
If necessary, the student parliament is entitled to amend the student body's regulations, such as the ballot regulations, the election regulations or the contribution regulations.
The student council serves the interests of the student body of the respective faculty and administers the finances allocated to them by the student parliament (StuPa). It functions as a link between the students of a faculty and the general students' committee (AStA). The elected members of the student council represent the interests of the student council towards the faculty or the university and exert influence on decisions concerning the organisation of the faculty. In addition, there is a wide range of services and assistance, which vary depending on the student council, such as exam loans, office hours for students, information about important dates, organising parties and the like.
The student council is elected every year in November by all registered students of the respective department for one year. The number of members to be elected is determined by the size of the student body in the department.
Plenary Assembly of the Student Council (FSVV)
All students of a faculty as a collective constitute the Fachschaft (student council). The plenary assembly is convened by the Student Council (FSR) and ought to take place at least once a term. The Student Council chairs the plenary assembly.
A plenary assembly of the student council (FSVV) must be held if it is requested by at least 10% of the student body of the student council.
The university council elects and monitors the presidium, so it is effectively a form of supervisory board for the university. The university council is heavily criticised for lacking democratic legitimacy. It takes over competences that the Senate formerly exercised - for instance, the election of the presidium (previously referred to as the rector's office). Moreover, the university council bears no accountability to the university public.
A selection committee is formed to draft a proposal list for prospective members of the university council. This list must then be confirmed by the Senate and the Ministry. The university council is then appointed by the ministry. The fact that the university has only a limited influence on the appointment of the university council should be noted critically. The university council at the FH Münster consists of eight people, two of them being members of the FH.
The deanery is comprised of a dean and one or several substitutes. The substitutes are called vice deans. The dean's office oversees the faculty. The dean represents the faculty internally at university level. Students may also work in the deanery as vice deans. At present, this is the case in the Faculty of Architecture and Design. The responsibilities of the Dean's Office correspond to those of the President's Office, although they are exclusively related to the respective faculty. Students constitute the largest status group in the faculties as well. Hence, self-administration structures are in place too. Within the faculty, there are two bodies for students.
The Presidium is comprised of a president and another four vice-presidents as well as a Chancellor. The members of the Presidium are elected by the University Council and are confirmed by the Senate.
The responsibility of the Presidium is to supervise the university. Among other things, this involves economic and personnel administration, the preparation of senate meetings, decision-making on the development of study programmes and research priorities, as well as conducting evaluations.
In addition, it implements the decisions of the university council and senate and ensures that the individual bodies and committees, or rather their functionaries, carry out their duties. It has a conditional right to issue instructions to the heads of the faculties. The president represents the university externally.
The Presidium is accountable to the university council and the senate for the information it provides.
The Senate has the following responsibilities, including but not limited to: Approving the election of the Presidium, enacting and amending framework regulations of the university, issuing recommendations and statements concerning teaching, research, art and studies that impact the university, and commenting on the annual report of the Presidium.
Equal Opportunities and Complaints Committee
The Senate elects two permanent committees, which are tasked with various areas of responsibility to consult with the presidium and the senate. By providing subject-related advice, the work processes are facilitated for the senate and the presidium. The committees include professors, staff and students.
The function of the Equal Opportunities Committee, and thus of the Equal Opportunities Representative, is the improvement of labour and development opportunities within the framework of equality for all genders at the FH Münster. The members of the Equal Opportunities Committee are elected separately by the members of the university according to status groups.
The complaints committee is comprised of student representatives and addresses complaints from students and members of the FH who are explicitly involved in the organisational implementation of academic teaching. Examples of such deficiencies may include:
- The compulsory courses intended for the semester are not offered
- Courses are cancelled on a regular basis
- Laboratory operation is permanently limited
- Dates for mandatory examinations are not offered
Representation Of The Interests Of Student Assistants
The Representation of the interests of student assistants is the advocacy group for student assistants. It is comprised of 2 students, one of whom is studying a degree programme in Steinfurt and one of whom is studying a degree programme in Münster.
Their responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:
- Contact point for student assistants and their complaints
- Monitoring compliance with applicable laws when selecting and employing student assistants
- Working towards establishing appropriate working conditions for student assistants
If the Representation of the interests of student assistants objects to a measure, this objection has a suspensive character. This means that the measure cannot be carried out until the objection has been settled (if necessary by the presidium).