Communist legacy in Romanian universities and the silenced students
Universities don't like criticism
National Alliance of Student Organizations in Romania (ANOSR) draws attention to the increasing number of cases recently where universities have tried to silence by any form students which expressed dissatisfaction with the state education system, sometimes resorting to practices from the communist period.
From intimidation in dean's office, to expulsions or reports made by ethics committees, students are concerned about the fact that this is how some universities choose to respond to the criticism made public on the problems of students in universities.
Examples of Universities that have "punished" critical students
The most recent case brought to public attention is the case of a student at the University of Architecture and Urbanism "Ion Mincu" in Bucharest which, as is clear from the response of the university, was expelled because he gave to the Minister of Education a letter signed by 700 students where were presented problems in university.
A situation unprecedented in the recent history of higher education is at the University "Alexandru Ioan Cuza" University who sued their students because one of the university student organizations is using the name of the university in its name. University action comes shortly after the same organization called students in student protests in which they expressed dissatisfaction with the poor conditions of study and fees.
Also the University of Bucharest was the protagonist of a case in which critical voices were punished in the university after a student organizations criticized public the university on several occasions, including organizing a protest in this regard. President of the organization was called to account before the Ethics Commission and received a written warning for allegedly denigrating image of the university.
A case which has not been made public, but was brought to the attention of ANOSR is the case of students from the National School of Political and Administrative Studies Bucharest, which after having been critical of the university at a meeting with Romanian Insurance Agency of Quality in Higher Education (ARACIS) discussed the quality of university education, were summoned to the office of the Faculty of Communication and Public Relations to give explanations for criticism, being threatened with expulsion.
Another famous case in which the university wanted to silence the voice of the students happened in 2011 at Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca. Once the student organization was critical in several places at the university, the university has seized the headquarters of the organization so that it can no longer operate. Despite the fact that the organization has managed after a few months to recover his seat - after numerous actions, the university has now proposed a new University Charter which provided that the students in the Senate and Faculty Board are the only official representatives of students, trying to remove any critical voice from student organizations.
Students will have lawyers
Students remind members of the academic community that their role is to train and develop critical thinking among the younger generation of Romanian intellectuals, not to annihilate the freedom of expression of all those who dare to notice problems. Freedom of expression is a right which had been fought and won in the Revolution of '89, so ANOSR notes that any violation is an affront to democracy and development of civic spirit among Romanian society.
ANOSR recommends that students who go through such issues to address student organizations in their universities or contact them. Moreover, ANOSR is going to start a project in partnership with Academic Society of Romania that will provide students and student organizations lawyers who support them through all possible legal forms when their rights are violated or are victims of abuse like the above.