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: April 05, 2013

Attack Types: Loss of Position

Institution(s):State University of Grodno

Region & Country:Europe | Belarus

New or Ongoing:Ongoing Incident

In March 2013, Dr. Viachaslau Shved was removed from his position as dean of his academic department and later dismissed from his faculty position 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.
At the time of his dismissal Dr. Shved had worked at the university for more than 30 years and had been awarded the university’s medal of merit in 2012. Belarusian academicians and intellectuals sent an open letter to the university’s administration protesting Dr. Shved’s dismissal. Dr. Shved’s loss of position appears to be part of a pattern of retaliatory discharge actions against academics involved in the publication of the book. As previously reported by SAR, another one of the book’s authors, Andrei Charniakevich, was dismissed from his position at Grodno State University in 2012. Members of the university community reportedly fear there will be additional dismissals. 
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the apparent wrongful dismissal of scholars in retaliation for the content of their academic work. Retaliatory discharge aimed at limiting a scholar’s academic speech constitutes an attack on academic freedom and undermines university values. 
Sources: [Belarusian] [Belarusian] [Belarusian] [Belarusian] [Belarusian] [Belarusian] [Belarusian],13321,professor-shved-my-dismissal-is-politically-motivated.html
UPDATE: This is an update to an earlier report. To view, please click here.