Position Statement


Institutional Communication Service

8 April 2024

Università della Svizzera italiana is aware that Professor Manfred Hauke of Facoltà di Teologia di Lugano (FTL), affiliated to USI since 2021, today has faced a trial for discrimination and incitement to hatred under Art. 261bis of the Criminal Code.

The charge relates to an article published in 2021 by the German journal Theologisches, for which Professor Hauke serves as 'Herausgeber' (editor).

With no intent of entering into the merits of a court case that is still ongoing, we reiterate that USI and its affiliates, based on their values of openness and responsibility, are opposed to any form of discrimination, whether based on sexual orientation or ethnic or religious affiliation. USI condemns any form of incitement to hatred and has recently adopted a Code of Ethics (signed in September 2023 by the Academic Senate and in december 2023 by the USI Council, attached to this page) to promote and disseminate the general principles of behaviour throughout the University community. 

USI is not involved in the ongoing legal process. Nevertheless, despite Professor Hauke not having a contractual relationship with USI, the Rectorate has already set up a special Commission, which will be asked to determine whether Professor Hauke's behavior violated the fundamental principles of the university and its Ethical Code (in collaboration with the FTL Ethics Committee). 
"Academic freedom is a fundamental value for the University, but this freedom does not translate into discriminatory and offensive remarks or acts" - USI Rector Luisa Lambertini emphasises - "We have had a Code of Ethics since September 2023; it is a valuable tool: the Rectorate has asked the special Commission to determine whether Professor Hauke's behaviour and his role in disseminating certain messages violated our principles as a University community."