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Appeal to the Intellectuals of the World
by Obrad Savic
Dear friends and esteemed colleagues,
The Serbian Parliament have adopted a new Law on Universities. Allow us to remind you that the Law was passed by the MPs of the extreme left and right-wing political parties in Serbia (the Socialist Party of Serbia, the Yugoslav Left and the Serbian Radical Party).
These very parties form the majority coalition in the Serbian Parliament which controls the entire public, political, economical and cultural life of the country. According to the new, now already adopted Law on universities, the Serbian government appoints the chancellors and the deans, the members of the steering and supervisory boards, without any participation of the University professors whatsoever. Thus the legal, political, financial and professional autonomy of the University has been entirely abolished. Article 165 of the new Law on universities is particularly disputable since it compels all the employees of the University to sign a new employment contract! Re-registration is intended to enforce loyalty of university professors to the new Law. In case they fail to sign the contract imposed on them, they will lose their jobs.
According to the list published in the Official Herald, the government of the Republic of Serbia has appointed five chancellors and 67 deans to the institutions of higher education in Serbia. These posts now occupy corrupted members of the ruling political coalition of the Socialist Party of Serbia, the Yugoslav Left and the Serbian Radical Party. Moreover, the list of members of the Steering Committee of the Belgrade University contains names of leaders of certain pro-fascist parties. For example, the Radical party leader Vojislav Seselj has been appointed a member of the steering committee of the School of Law and the School of Economy of the Belgrade University. The act of appointment made conclusively official political and party occupation of the Belgrade and all the other Universities in Serbia.
We invite the colleagues in the country and abroad to raise their voices most resolutely against the brutal state interventionism at the Serbian Universities. We suggest to you to discontinue any contact with the new authorities at the Belgrade University. We suggest to you to make dormant all forms of institutional cooperation during the occupation of the Belgrade University. We suggest to you to launch international initiative as a token of solidarity with the threatened professors and associates of the Belgrade University. We suggest to you to form Defence of the Belgrade University Boards within your academic circles and university surroundings. We suggest to you to launch a broad international media campaign for the purposes of legal, political and humanitarian protection of professors and associates of the Serbian Universities.
On behalf of the University Defence Board,
Narodnog fronta 60/II, 11000 Beograd, Yugoslavia, tel./fax +381 (0)11 64 34 09
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