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Students Learn to Struggle for Their Rights

30.04.2012

Tamta Beliashvili

Students’ organization Youth Center request the rector of the Tbilisi Ivane Javakhishvili State University [TSU] and its administration to ensure equal pre-election environment for the upcoming elections of student self-government.

The Youth Center got concerned about “suspicious” pre-election situation. Namely, chairman of the Youth Center Mikheil Tepnadze said TSU Central Election Commission was established 30 days before the Election Day instead required 40 days. Additionally, this fact coincided with the announcement of the self-governmental Election Day.

“A CEC member told me they had not published the election resolution yet. We receive same reply when we apply to the administration for something. They ask us to come in two days; but even two days later they excuse their inactivity by various motives and finally our requests are not satisfied,” Mikheil Tepnadze told the Human Rights Center.

The chair of the Youth Center said when the students protested the fact and held discussion about it, the resolution was published on http://www.tsu.edu.ge/ (see link http://www.tsu.edu.ge/data/file_db/TSU-Tvitmmartveloba/debuleba2012.pdf ) based on what the students’ self-governmental elections should be held.

The Youth Center calls upon the TSU administration to create democratic pre-election environment; besides that they have some other requirements too.

Mikheil Tepnadze requests lecture-hall to carry out his pre-election campaign. However, the administration refused him to grant the space. Tepnadze said the Youth Center was clarified that only TSU self-government had legitimate right to raise requirements in the name of students. It was reply of the administrator’s assistant to the Youth Center’s request on TSU internet forum.

A month ago, the Youth Center surveyed the university problems and requested a space for its presentation but after a while the administration refused them to give the space.

The Human Rights Center interviewed head of the TSU public relation department Nana Mamagulishvili about this issue. She said initially they did not refuse the Youth Center to give the space. “We requested them to demonstrate the validity of their survey – we wanted to know who carried out the polls, which competent person or social groups were involved in it and afterwards we could discuss their application,” Nana Mamagulishvili said.

She said the students’ organization breached all deadlines to submit documents about reliability of social polls. “They did not submit relevant documents and we were late to answer their request. Thus, we officially refused the Youth Center to allocate space for them,” Nana Mamagulishvili said and added that one reason of their refusal was busy educational process which complicates to find vacant halls even for the events organized by the TSU “not to say anything about presentation of unidentified social polls.”

Chair of the students’ organization suggests the TSU administration to be impartial because their partiality and selection of students according to their political affiliations will negatively impact the education process and level.

Journalist Salome Tsetskhladze got interested in the activities of the student self-government. Investigative documentary “Students vs Self-government” – a joint work of the journalist and Studio “Monitor” reflects shortcomings and unproductive activities of self-governments in Georgian universities by concrete model.

The Tbilisi Human Rights House screened the documentary of Salome Tsetskhladze in Café Althaus on April 3. After screening, the invited guests started discussion; among them were members of the student movement “Laboratory 1918”. Everybody agreed that serious changes must take place in universities and the students shall purposefully struggle for it.

Several organizations and movements are concerned about the situation with regard to student self-governments. They must unify and work out plan to eradicate existing problems. Nongovernmental sector and media shall be more active in order to improve the situation. It was main topic of the meeting between Coalition Freedom for Election and students on April 30. 

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