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"Enough of having the same rector for 11 years!"
/ 24 Apr.'03 / 12:33

Students Appeal the Court

Students of the Tbilisi State University (TSU) say election of the rector (president) was illegal and appeal the district court of Tbilisi. In the coming five days the court will decide on taking the suit into consideration.

With this lawsuit the students protest election of Roin Metreveli on the position of TSU rector, for third term. Roin Metreveli is the rector of University since 1992. Some of the students say he is remnant of the communist period, since Metreveli used to be an important communist functionaire.

The Great Council of the University elected Roin Metreveli a rector of TSU on April 21. The students, questioning the legality of elections were refused attendance. The deputy rector, Parmen Margvelashvili says, "there was not enough space".  Students say Metreveli has changed the statute of TSU, as it states the same candidate can be elected only for two terms. They say this amendment violates several laws and try to prove this in court.

After the election of rector the students have arranged press conference declaring they have appealed Tbilisi district court to eliminate #277 Presidential Decree about the statute of the TSU, and to rule illegal the election of Roin Metreveli.

1993-2001 TSU statute states the University Council conducts the election of the rector with secret ballot. The rector is elected for the 5-year term, and can only serve two consecutive terms. According to the Presidential Decree #277 the term has increased to 6 years and the limitation on consecutive terms was removed. 

Tea Tutberidze, third year student of the Law Department, one of the claimants, says the university's charter is illegal since it contradicts the Law on Education, which stipulates the structure of the elections, and the General Administrative code, that calls for the openness of the public institutions.

Article 23 of the 1997 Law on Education, reads "Educational Institutions are directed by the administration of the institution and pedagogical (scientific) council." It also stipulates that the Council of Trustees works for fundraising and attracting investments. According to the article 5 of the TSU statute "the University is directed by the University Council ("Great Council"). Students say this provision violates the spirit of the Law on Education, which separates the administrative, academic and fundraising powers and installs single body under the rector leadership in place of the three.

According to the statute of TSU the election of rector is conducted by the Great Council, whereas article 23 of 1997 law on education says the head of the educational institution "rector of state higher educational institution, is elected by the scientific council and in agreement with the appropriate Ministry, Minster of Education proposes and the President of Georgia appoints the candidate".

"Besides all [legal] violations, Roin Metreveli was the only candidate for this position, demonstrating soviet style elections, which we do not want to stand any more"-Levan Nozadze, TSU students, says.

"Despite the fact that the University has autonomous status, it still should be regulated by the general law on education."- Students opposing the election say.

"Our level of education is very low comparing to other educational institutions. Only 3% of TSU graduates find the job in first year of commencement, whereas 98% of European School of Management (ESM) [private university operating in Tbilisi] graduates are employed on their first year of graduation and their average salary is 300-400 USD" students say.

In the lawsuit students have included the facts of the corruption and violations of the financial management discovered by the Chamber of Control of Georgia. (For detailed information refer to "TSU  Management Engaged in Insider Trading"; "High Educational Crisis")

"After we appealed the court, somebody from Ministry of Security came to our department investigating the names of the students who participated in the protest actions"- one of the students who chose not to reveal his name told Advocacy.ge.

While waiting for the decision of the court students continue protest actions. Early Tuesday morning students draw graffiti in streets of Tbilisi, reading "Kmara" ("Enough"). On Wednesday during the book fair in front of the parliament library they were spreading colorful bookmarks with words "Enough".

Advocacy.ge will keep you updated about the development of the event.

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