This autumn a number of Belarusian professors and students who supported anti-presidential protests have lost their jobs or the opportunity to continue education.
138 students and 15 lecturers (10 within the past week) had been removed from the universities, TG channel Studentskaya Dumka (Students’ Thought) said on November, 2.
For example, students of the Minsk-based Medical University report 21 expulsions, but in a letter to the Education Ministry, the university administration says that nine persons were removed. However, the students claim that some of the expelled have not received the relevant documents yet.
The authorities of Minsk State Linguistic University (MSLU) gained notoriety for giving a sack to the lecturers who were backing the persecuted students. In the last few days, three lecturers have been dismissed from the university, and another three have quit their jobs in solidarity. One of them, Natallya Dulina, one of the best italienists in Belarus, was detained last Friday; she is now serving a 14-day term of administrative arrest. About 70 MSLU lecturers signed a pettition, demanding to reinstate the fired colleagues. In turn, the students announced holding the Blue Ribbon Week. By wearing such ribbons, they are going to show solidarity with their fellow learners and lecturers whose names were taken off the university books.
As a sign of protest, students are disengaging from the Belarusian Republican Youth Union (BSRM), a pro-presidential organisation that tacitly approves the repression of students and teachers, and staging solidarity rallies.
On October 27, after lots of students joined the workers’ strike, Alyaksandr Lukashenka was close to giving a direct order to expel the protesters from the universities.
“Students, if you come to study, study. Whoever wants, let them study. Whoever went out in violation of the law for unauthorised actions must be deprived of the right to be a student. Please send them, as I said, some to the army and some to the street. Let them walk down the street. But they must be expelled from the university,” Lukashenka said.