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Since 1 January 2007, the law stipulates that the central body for all universities in North Rhine-Westphalia should be the University Council. On this day, the Gesetz über die Hochschulen des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen [North Rhine-Westphalia University Act] came into force in the form of the 'Freedom of Institutes of Higher Education Act'.
The University Council advises the Rektorat and oversees its management activities. Pursuant to § 21 of the Hochschulfreiheitsgesetz [University Education Act], its tasks particularly include:
The University Council has the right to inspect and audit all university documents. It meets at least four times every year.
The composition of the University Council is regulated by the University constitution. In the constitution of Bielefeld University that came into force in January 2008, the Senate accordingly specified that the University Council of Bielefeld University should be composed of five external and five internal members. The Senate appointed a selection committee in which one half of the members were representatives of the Ministry of Innovation, Science, Research, and Technology (MIWFT). This committee chose and elected 10 persons who were confirmed by the Senate and approved by the Ministry. During the constituent assembly of the University Council on 28 May 2008, the ten elected members of the University Council received their certificates of appointment.
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