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UPDATE: Rectors of 38 Universities Denounce Academic Boycott

Rectors of 38 universities condemned the academic boycott by students and professors over the foreign agents’ law, saying that “a political process must remain outside the academic space” and that “the refusal of some academic personnel to perform their duties is unacceptable.” This statement refers to some professors who have joined the students’ protests.

The governing council of the Caucasus University and the governing council International Black Sea University have took back the signature on the statement. This decision by the Rector of the universities, Kakha Shengelia, as well as the decision to dismiss the Dean of Business faculty, who had criticized the founder of the ruling Georgian Dream party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, was met with a wave of student protests. On May 15, Shengelia said on social media that no one could call him “an enemy of the country,” adding, “I will always be on the side of truth. The truth is one thing – Russia is the enemy! And in the battle where my students or employees are fighting against our enemy, I will definitely stand by them!”

Both of the university students have been protesting the Rectors decision, which has drawn the

The 38 rectors emphasized that “the education of young people in a free and non-discriminatory environment is a fundamental basis for our European future” and that political processes “must not interfere with the functioning of the universities and the conduct of the academic process.”

They said that the profession’s strike “violates the constitutional rights of the students” adding that it is also “harming the interests of the students who [still] attend the lectures.”

“Each university and its professors and teachers are obliged to ensure the uninterrupted conduct of the educational process and the creation of a politically free, healthy, and academic educational environment,” the rectors said.

“If our intention is a better Georgia, the only and best way to achieve it is through quality education,” the 38 rectors said, adding it was unacceptable for some groups to make “political statements” in the name of universities.

Some leading public and private universities did not join the statement, including Ilia State University and the Free University of Tbilisi.

The letter of 38 was met with criticism by many students and their professors.

This news was updated at 18:06 on May 15 to include the decision of the Caucasus and Black Sea Universities.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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