Protest-Hit Tbilisi State University

Tbilisi State University (TSU), Georgia’s oldest institution of higher education, has been caught up in a protest by a group of students since March 10. Protesters, dubbed as rebel students, want to block Giorgi Gaprindashvili, the only candidate for TSU’s chancellor, from taking the office. Although the rector is the head of the university, representing top academic position, the chancellor is a top manager in charge of TSU’s day-to-day operations, also overseeing finances. Demands also include providing “real autonomy” for the university by scrapping of long-standing practice of assigning security agency’s officers, so called ODRs, to the university, who, some claim, also wield influence over students’ self-governance union, a body, which is also a target of criticism from the rebel students. Protesters occupy hallway on the first floor of TSU’s main building for a third day on March 12.

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