For some, going into the lecture hall is associated with memories of their own student days – like for Michael von Ruden, chairman of the CDU parliamentary group. His university days go back half a century. He began his studies in Gottingen in 1968 – in a turbulent time that was very much politicized, as he puts it. Back then, there were riots, strikes, radical forces that von Ruden wanted nothing to do with. "I remember once driving back to Kassel in my VW Beetle on the Groner Landstrabe. I was stopped by the police because they were on the lookout for terrorists."
The fact that he is now sitting in a lecture hall again and that the city council is a guest at the university is something he finds good, because he and his faction, for one, could not have come to terms with the alternative: the Baunatal City Hall. And – on the other hand – the local politics comes so in contact with the young people, who bring the state forward.
Among these young people is Luzie Pfeil, who is not only involved in local politics in an honorary capacity, but is also majoring in political science and longing for the time of face-to-face meetings. She says: "Online a lot is lost when discussing. There is a lot of silence. In presence participate more, that is more beautiful."
Kassel Stavo must leave auditorium after bomb threat: Meeting despite high incidence in presence
From there it finds also good that despite the high incidence the city councillors come together: "The city council is the most important democratic body in the city, therefore it is necessary and correct so."Before the meeting starts, there is a chat with von Ruden, a joint photo for the newspaper – in the background the large lecture hall.
Now also Ron-Hendrik Hechelmann, city councillor and party leader of the SPD comes. For him it is a home game. The expert in environmental policy products and processes works at the university. "Short distances at last," he says happily. When he was a student, the Campus Center had just been completed, but he had only ever been in Lecture Hall 1 for one examination. Now the Stavo meeting takes place there. "It’s an interesting experience," says the Social Democrat. He sees this as a positive sign: "The inner-city location development of the university is a Kassel success story. Here a place and magnet of meeting and exchange of different cultures has been created."
Miriam Hagelstein from the Kassel Left Party also has a special relationship with the university. The 29-year-old has been studying political science and philosophy there since 2016. Now she says: "It feels as if all the city councillors are back in school again."
Kassel city council members feel like students – until news of bomb threat arrives
In a moment, the city councillors and magistrate members explore the new location. Mayor Christian Geselle discovers a piano on the sidelines and immediately hits the keys. It even sounds quite useful – whether intentional or unintentional.
City council chairwoman Martina van den Hovel-Hanemann opens the meeting, but soon hands over the floor to the head of the house. University president Ute Clement welcomes the guests. The educator gives the city council members another insight from her science: that sometimes new perspectives arise by changing seats. From this point of view, Kassel’s local politicians should already be rich in perspectives: The lecture hall of the university is the substitute of the substitute of the actual meeting hall.
Soon after, the first vote is taken, and it is not immediately clear who belongs to which faction. The city councillors sit in the rows of the auditorium, an order is difficult to make out. The city council chairwoman says: "We have to get into the groove here first."
There are technical problems at the Kassel Stavo meeting: Bomb threat gets but all
The biggest problem is the technology. When Martina van den Hovel-Hanemann speaks into the microphone, everyone can understand her – but only for a few seconds, then the table mike goes on strike. When this happens several times in a row, a mobile microphone is brought to her, but she has to share it with the magistrates. Their table microphones have the same quirks as their specimen.
Even the microphones in the lecture hall only work to a certain extent. There are always dropouts when city councillors ask their question during question time. The city councilor Patrick Hartmann (SPD) gets too irritated, he just keeps talking without a microphone – and with the force of his voice. "It’s all right if I do it this way," he notes. No contradiction. Mayor Geselle answered one question with reference to the technical difficulties: "I guess I have to answer briefly here: yes."
It’s not that no one makes an effort. At some point, someone writes the data for Internet access on the blackboard. The writing is so small that hardly anyone in the back rows can recognize it. At the second attempt the writing is readable for all.
Abrupt end due to bomb threat: Kassel city council members have to leave university lecture hall
At shortly after 5 p.m., it suddenly becomes restless in the front seats where the department heads and the presidium are sitting. Michael von Ruden, the head of the CDU parliamentary group, has the best view of it: "You could tell that something had happened."Then Martina van den Hovel-Hanemann, head of the city council, explains what’s going on: bomb threat, everyone should leave the hall. The process is orderly. Most remain calm.
Ron-Henrik Hechelmann speaks of scaremongering by those who threatened to break off the meeting. "That’s just too bad." He’s sitting there again in his office very close to the Campus Center. At least: Hechelmann can now work a little longer. (Florian Hagemann and Andreas Hermann)