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24 December, 2013 11:35   ▪  

Ukrainian Catholic University reports pressure after support to EuroMaidan

“UCU is clearly high on the list of institutions the police and other authorities are pressuring,” says the Memodandum on complications of relations between the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) and Ukrainian government in 2012-2013 circulated by UCU Senior Vice-Rector Dr. Taras Dobko

“Police officers have already visited UCU and interrogated the Dean of the School of Humanities and a few of his colleagues in an attempt to collect information about the students who participated in the demonstrations (EuroMaidan – Ed.). We have been informed that a few criminal cases have been opened against UCU students and professors. Some of our students are put under psychological pressure while getting phone calls attempting to interrogate them about their involvement with protests or even warning them not to continue their participation in the demonstrations and insisting that they become ‘internet-silent’,” the Memorandum claims.

According to the Memorandum, First Deputy Minister of Education and Science Yevhen Sulima invited UCU Senior Vice-Rector Dr. Taras Dobko to a meeting on December 11, 2013, where he called on the UCU to comply with legal regulations about the requirements for university’s rector. Fr. Bohdan Prach, the new rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University, is a Ukrainian born in Poland, Polish citizen, Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest who works in Ukraine for more than 15 years and, legally speaking, is a permanent resident of Ukraine. Mr. Sulima cautioned Dr. Dobko that he will approve no UCU accreditation application unless UCU appoints rector a person who fully complies with the legal requirements for the position holder. This includes the requirement about Ukrainian citizenship of the rector.

Over the past years, the Ministry for Education, Science, Youth and Sports (MESYS) of Ukraine has attempted to stop UCU’s development through unfair and academically unjustified revocation of state accreditation for the University, based not on quality or efficiency criteria, but on purely formal, bureaucratic reasons, the Memorandum reports.

“During December 2011 – November 2012, MESYS tried to discipline UCU through its attempt to revoke UCU's state licenses and accreditation for its programs. UCU has faced numerous difficulties in re-accrediting its existing programs and getting a license for its new programs. MESYS put UCU into a danger that the University will not have been able to issue diplomas to its graduates in June, admit new students in July, and open new programs in September 2012. During one year UCU was rigorously inspected twice by an extraordinary Committee of the State Inspection of Higher Educational Institutions of Ukraine on its compliance with license requirements in provision of educational services in the area of higher education and the quality of student education at UCU,” the document states. “Both times the Committee’s conclusion on UCU’s compliance with the licensing regulations was positive…. Nevertheless, on the grounds that UCU Rector Fr. Borys Gudziak (Harvard PhD) is not a Ukrainian citizen and a number of the theology faculty with doctoral degrees granted by leading Western universities did not have their Ph.D. degrees formally recognized in Ukraine (because of the lack of legal possibility to attain such a recognition for degrees in theology), MESYS tried to deny the accreditation of UCU’s programs.”

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