Students, Law and Codes

  • R. G. S. Weber


As mentioned briefly above, the German universities received a certain amount of legal attention and reform from their state authorities during the eighteenth century. Prussia, often the leader in legal codification during that period, introduced regulations on 5 September 1750, whereby the discipline of students was to come under the jurisdiction of the universities.1 Only a few decades later such autonomy might well have not come to law, as the latter part of the century so rife with widespread fears and allegations accused secret societies with fomenting discontent and revolution. In the midst of these perceptions, activities of the student orders were viewed with suspicion and classified as subversive. But the spirit of alarm which brought about the Imperial verdict of 6 June 1793 calling for the proscription of clandestine societies and fraternities does not appear in the codification of Prussian Law. This contrast serves as an indication of the tolerant disposition on the part of the Prussian crown toward student associations.2 The Allgemeine Landrecht für die Preussischen Staaten of 1794 as cited by Herbert Kessler in his work on the law and the German universities, states that the existing stance of the law in Prussia was merely codified, nothing more. Under the codification, universities were declared institutions of the state, having their own corporal constitutions, with all the rights of privileged corporations and their academic senates were given jurisdiction over all teachers and students alike.3


German Student Secret Society Traditional Student Local Cartel Jewish Student 
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2 Students, Law and Codes

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© R. G. S. Weber 1986

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