SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: March 29, 2013

Attack Types: Loss of Position

Institution(s):State University of Grodno

Region & Country:Europe | Belarus

New or Ongoing:New Incident

In August 2012, Dr. Igor Kuzminich was dismissed from his position as Vice-Dean for Professional Orientation of Law Faculty at Grodno State University, allegedly for co-authoring a book on the history of Grodno. The book drew authorities’ attention for not including in the narrative the current government’s rule and featuring on its cover a symbol associated with the opposition movement.

Following the dismissal Dr. Kuzminich remained at the university as a professor but resigned in March 2013 in protest against the allegedly political demotion of another co-author, Dr. Viachaslau Shved, and alleged government censorship and manipulation of the education sector. Dr. Kuzminich’s dismissal as Vice-Dean appears to be part of a pattern of retaliatory discharge actions by university authorities against academics, involved in the publication of the book. Another of the book’s co-authors, Andrei Charniakevich, was dismissed from his position at Grodno State University in 2012.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the apparent wrongful demotion and dismissal of scholars in retaliation for the content of their academic work. Retaliatory demotion aimed at limiting a scholar’s academic speech constitutes an attack on academic freedom and undermines university values.

Sources: [Belarusian] [Belarusian] [Belarusian] [Belarusian] [Belarusian]