Berlin’s Senator for Justice Lena Kreck (left) also wanted to continue being a professor as a senator – and she thought that was right when the Tagesspiegel asked her in July about initial doubts. But on Friday, shortly before 7 a.m., the judiciary announced: “Lena Kreck lets the professor designation rest.” She no longer bears the title “from now until further notice”.
The Senate approved her part-time job at the Evangelische Hochschule Berlin (EHB) in mid-January, and the Senate Act allows this for teaching activities. The administration of justice also confirmed Kreck’s position – “that after my appointment as a senator I legitimately called myself a professor”.
But the science administration might see it differently. With her waiver of the title, Kreck is reacting to a “standard procedure” for which “there is a reason”, as a spokesman for the science administration said. “It is an ongoing examination”, in which Kreck “was asked by us to comment on Friday”. .”
Kreck said she acknowledges that there are other opinions on her case. In the current crises, however, there are “more important things than personal debates about different legal opinions on job titles”. The Berlin people rightly expected “that a female senator would concentrate on mastering the major political tasks ahead”. She will focus her “all her energy” on that.
The consequences of the procedure are still unclear – for example, whether Kreck will continue the professorship, evaluate students’ final theses as previously and, as announced, give a block seminar in the winter semester. That will be checked, said Kreck’s spokesman. EHB Chancellor Andreas Flegl, on the other hand, said: “The employment relationship with Ms. Kreck is basically suspended. At the same time, we agreed that Ms. Kreck would continue to teach at the university and review theses. A professorial activity will therefore continue to be exercised.”
The case leaves the impression that Kreck, despite serving as a senator, was determined to save her title through the legislature. In her statement it said: At the latest after her return to the EHB she will resume the designation as a professor. The university also assumes that Kreck will “fully perform her duties as a professor again” after her term of office, as Chancellor Flegl said. “The professorship here remains vacant and is only represented to the extent necessary.”
The status of the professor title could still be exciting. According to the Berlin Higher Education Act, the title “after leaving the university or when the rights and obligations arising from the employment relationship are suspended” may only be used without an addition if the professors “have carried out their work for at least five years”. This is not the case with Kreck.
That is why the legal expert of the CDU parliamentary group in the House of Representatives, Alexander J. Herrmann, wants to inspect the files. “Government members have a special role model function. Therefore, it must be clarified as soon as possible to what extent left-wing justice senator Kreck wrongly wore her academic title. This could also have criminal consequences,” said Herrmann.
After the Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) had his doctorate revoked, “this Senate is now being overshadowed by another suspicion of cheating,” said the CDU politician. AfD legal expert Marc Vallendar wants to file a criminal complaint against Kreck on suspicion of title abuse. “Either her title has been held legally so far – then she wouldn’t have to do without it. Or she waives – then she has obviously led him illegally so far,” he said.
The lawyer Kreck has been a professor of social work with a focus on law and society at the EHB since 2019. In December 2021 she became a Senator for Justice. The SFIVET releases them “for an initial period of five years”. After the Senate decision on part-time work in January, there was initially only talk of a temporary part-time job. Kreck will “finish remaining theses”. “In the 2021/2022 winter semester, she will prepare three first and nine second reports and in the summer semester 2022 four first and three second reports on bachelor’s and master’s theses,” the Senate announced at the time.
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The EHB later deviated from this in its reply to the Tagesspiegel. Kreck holds a full professorship. It has been agreed that Kreck can take exams and hold courses. This means that she can continue to be an “academic member of the university” as a senator.
But how much time can the senator have for teaching if she devotes all her energy, as the oath says, to the office? In July it was said that Kreck had “taken over two first reports on bachelor’s theses” and “several second reports”. In the 2022 summer semester, the number of expert opinions was reduced. She looked after the students “by telephone, via e-mail and in personal meetings”. In the summer semester, as the first reviewer, she had “two personal meetings with the students”. From the winter semester 2022/2023 she will be supervising individual projects.
When asked how many hours Kreck needed for this, the justice administration answered evasively: “The senator is very practiced in compiling and evaluating texts – even extensive ones – within a very short time. A bachelor’s thesis corresponds to the scope of a somewhat more extensive administrative file. The senator processes such files on an ongoing basis,” said a spokesman. Unlike other Senate members, she also does not have a seat in the House of Representatives. “Compared to her everyday work as a senator, the activities at the university are not significant,” said the spokesman.