18 January 2018, Thursday, 14:33

EHU lecturers staged picket in Vilnius


7 lecturers of the European Humanities University picketed the building of Domus Maria Hotel, where the meeting of the university administration and investors took place.

As Radio Svaboda was told by one of the picketers, Maxim Zhbankou, lecturers, among whom there are three Senators, as well as representatives of the trade union, were holding posters in English and in Lithuanian: “Authoritarian university for democratic Belarus?”, “We are not illegal aliens”, “Fake competition – fake faculties”, “Where are my rights?”, “Let’s meet at court”, “Does EHU believe it could exist outside Lithuanian legislation?”

“We think that the principles of organising the competition for professors were unjust, those who were to take an active part in it according to the statute of the university – the Senate and students’ representatives – were excluded. We are dealing with an administrative choice of loyal professors, which has nothing to do with academic freedoms. In fact, there was no competition at all, there was an allocation of the loyal members of staff to the preliminary chosen positions. No new faces have emerged, as it was promised before the competition. Those who disagree with the position of the administration, were not included in the results of the competition. We find the competition to be a fictitious one, it contradicts the fundamental principles of the EHU existence. As a result, the competition which had been announced as a means to solve our problems, has driven the university into a yet deeper internal crisis. It means that the administration is unable to do anything to resolve the crisis. Our ultimate goal is rotation of top management,” Maxim Zhbankou said.

According to the results of the competition, which was held in two stages – shortlisting of candidates and individual interviews, – 17 representatives were chosen. Labour contracts for 5 years with full-time employment are to be signed with them. More than 120 applications were considered.

Maxim Zhbankou, who had been working at the university for 8 years and who had not been included in the list of the 17 selected professors, evaluates his current status at the European Humanities University in the following way:

“I am nobody. Even now educational load for the next academic year is being allocated. But it is unknown so far, who will work. The second round of the competition has already taken place allegedly, and this round had not been planned at all, and we do not know its results. The administration refuses to talk to us or explain anything. The situation is non-transparent and very dramatic for the majority of those who had been working and wanted to continue their work at the EHU. I had been working there for 8 years, and over this period I did not have holidays or medical insurance, I was absolutely defenseless. And now I have no prospects related to the work in the EHU. As far as I understand, I should look for another work place now.”

The conflict of the university administration and EHU professors united in a trade union of educators called “Platforma”, lasts for a few months already.

“Platforma” wants to return to the EHU project its initial meaning of an effective Humanities university with European quality of education and scientific research.