Group of Faculty of Humanities Employees and Students Hold Protest Walk

By 14 July 2020
Group of Faculty of Humanities Employees and Students Hold Protest Walk
FFZG | Facebook

ZAGREB, July 14, 2020 - A group of employees and students of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb on Tuesday marched from the faculty to Government House and handed in their petition against the Zagreb University Rector's recent decision to suspend the faculty's dean Vesna Vlahovic-Stetic.

Professor Neven Jovanovic, for whose appointment as dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences the University Senate withheld consent in April, said that they wanted to hand in the petition, which is supported by 8,000 signatures, to the government and that they demand the resignation of Rector Damir Boras, accusing him of taking the university in the wrong direction.

Jovanovic said that only the government and the prime minister could stop the attempts to stifle democracy in the university.

One of the participants in the protest walk was Tomislav Tomasevic of the We Can political platform who said that he supported the protesting students and professors. Tomasevic accused Boras of abusing the autonomy of the university since he became rector.

Protesters carried banners with messages: "No Pasaran!", or "The Faculty is Ours!" and messages promoting left-libertarianism.

Last week, Rector Boras suspended Vlahovic-Stetic and that decision caused strong reactions. Boras's decision ensued after a final ruling by the Zagreb County Court of June 26 which found Vlahovic-Stetic guilty of harassing Vice-Rector Ante Covic, thus harming the dignity of employees in the sphere of communication, social relations and quality of their professional status.

The court ruled that Professor Covic was subjected to harassment by Vlahovic-Stetic from the start of her term in office as dean in November 2017 to 15 November 2018, when his employment contract expired. Boras said in his decision that Vlahovic-Stetic had also caused financial harm to the Faculty because it now has to pay its former employee HRK 25,000 (€3,300) in damages plus HRK 11,250 (€1,500) in litigation costs.

Commenting on the case, Science and Education Minister Blazenka Divjak said in a Facebook post that academic cliques were destroying the system of science and education and that "the Covic-Boras axis is causing huge damage to the system" as well as that "the University must do better."

This past Thursday, students, and professors at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences staged a protest outside the faculty building against the rector's decision.