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SITUATION AROUND THE NaUKMA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

In January 2022, NaUKMA got a new chance to elect the university president after more than 2 years of “interim” period, started with the termination of Prof. Dr. Andriy Meleshevych, NaUKMA president in 2014-2019, mandate. It was already the 5th attempt of electing the NaUKMA president, senior university manger and the highest university legal representative. The previous 4 electoral attempts brought no results because of the contradictory provisions of the Law of Ukraine on Higher Education, strictly regulating rector/president election at any Ukrainian public university (provisions were eliminated in Spring 2021 by amending the Law), serious completion among the candidates, which coincided with difficulties and restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, in 2022 immediate election of the university president was critical for the university’s proper functioning and development.

 

The 2nd round of the 5th NaUKMA presidential election, hold on 27 January 2022, finally defined the winner – Prof. Dr. Serhiy Kvit, currently leading National Agency for Higher Education Quality Assurance, previously  serving as Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine and NaUKMA President (2010-2014). At the same time, serious incident happed on the polling station on the election day – a group of unknown men in masks broke in the university polling station, stole one of the ballot boxes and poured brilliant green into the second one. Police, which was called immediately, found and returned the ballot box within an hour after the theft and the voting continued. The stolen and returned box had no signs of penetration, all the seals were preserved. After careful examination, all the ballots from the stolen box were recognized original, while the ballots from the second box were clearly readable. Based on these facts the NaUKMA election committee decided to recognize the election results, which brought victory to Prof. Dr. Serhiy Kvit. After the detailed report on the incident, made by the head of the NAUKMA election committee, both candidates, who ran for  the NaUKMA presidency in 2022, NaUKMA Academic Council, Student Self-Government, NaUKMA Advisory Board and then other internal and external stakeholders recognized and supported legitimacy of this election results. Contrary to that, Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine Serhiy Shkarlet, referring to the incident on the polling station, refused to accept decision of the NaUKMA election committee and therefore to recognize the election results. New presidential elections, which would already be 6th for NaUKMA in 2 years, were announced instead.

 

NaUKMA community calling to the appropriate authority to immediately investigate the incident on the polling station. At the same time, we are strongly opposing the decision of the minister of education and science as a violation of laws of Ukraine, which clearly define university election committee as a final authority to recognizes validity of the election’s results. We are absolutely convinced that situation of non-recognition of the NaUKMA president election would be a serious threat to the university autonomy. As an act of civil disobedience NaUKMA students made a decision to go on strike since 3 February 2022, while protest action is planned next to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on 4 February 2022.

 

Many NaUKMA partners, among them the Ukrainian Catholic University, Lviv, PEN Ukraine and other partners and friends have already supported NaUKMA in this standing up for democracy. 

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