On 19.12.18 the students of the TUHH received an email from the examination office outlining the insufficiency of medical certificates. Instead, a so-called qualified medical certificate must be submitted during the examination period of the winter semester 18/19.

Please note: If you are unable to take an exam due to illness, you must prove that you are ill.
The decision on disqualification is a matter of law and is taken by the examining authority. Based on the medical information, the examination office must be in a position to form an independent opinion on the students’ inability to take the examination.
A simple certificate of incapacity for work is therefore insufficient as proof.
The examination office needs a so-called detailed certificate from which the physical and psychological symptoms and effects provoked by the illness can be proven. Diagnosis is not required. Your data is subject to data protection and will be treated with strict confidentiality.

On the website of the Examination Office there is a corresponding application form (“Erforderliche Daten zum Erfassen eines ärztlichen Attestes – Ausfüllhinweis”) as well as further information on the disease-related withdrawal from the examination (“Information for students – Procedure for withdrawing from an exam due to illness”).

Anne Kruse Mittelbach, Central Examination Office

The symptoms leading to the inability to take the examination must be named in this certificate. In our opinion, this naming is not compatible with informational self-determination (Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union Art. 8 para. 1). The decision to use the regulation arose from the unclear legal situation.

In the meantime, the AStA has tried to overturn this regulation. In several discussions with the legal department and the SLS of the TUHH as well as the LandesAstenKonferenz, the beginning of a solution was drafted. 

This approach to a solution provided that the regulation should be overturned by the motion, of the student body, in the Academic Senate. This did not happen. We were advised not to submit this application to the AS, as a data protection audit was currently underway.

Meanwhile, a student at our university took action. The following conversation arose on Twitter.

Oliver described the situation to the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HmbBfDI) on February 10, 2019, who took this as a complaint. Subsequently, an investigation was opened.

After some review time, an interim inquiry resulted in a response from the HmbBfDI on March 21, 2019. The review process is still ongoing, but the TUHH Chancellor has currently suspended the regulation.

The issue is currently being examined by the TU, including possible legal amendments. As the chancellor has informed us, the rule we objected to regarding the material content of certificates that can be recognized has been provisionally suspended until the ASPO has been amended, which is still necessary anyway, at least for formal reasons. However, this is not to be expected in the short term but rather in the medium term.

Answer of the HmbBfDI

We do not know since when the regulation was suspended. We also do not know why the students were not informed about this immediately. More information will follow!