She succeeds Vice Rector Gerda Müller, who took over the interim management of the institution in June after Maria Happel’s resignation as a result of a letter from the student body against her. Metelka has been a professor of speech design since 2013 and led the Reinhardt Seminar as part of a team between 2014 and 2020. Alexandra Althoff is now at her side as deputy in the six-month role. It is currently unclear when the new management duo will be succeeded by a permanent head of the institute.
Abuse of power and ignorance
The background to the calamities at the Reinhardt Seminar was an open letter from the students to Ulrike Sych, the rector of the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. It called for the resignation of Happel and her deputy Annett Matzke. The four-page letter spoke of a system of “abuse of power, nepotism and ignorance.” In “MeToo” cases, the institute management did not make sufficient efforts to provide clarification. Role classes continue to be held in unprotected rooms outside the institution, and Happel and Matzke have used a rude tone towards students.
“Out of nowhere”
Maria Happel, who has headed the Reinhardt Seminar since 2020 and also directs the Reichenau Festival and is a member of the Burgtheater ensemble, then explained that the accusations had come out of nowhere for her. She regretted that the signatories immediately contacted the press. On June 6th, Maria Happel resigned as director.
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