Toeing the line: Wave of expulsions at Belarusian universities

Belarusian universities continue to expel the students who were spotted in taking part in strikes and rallies. On October 27, Alyaksandr Lukashenka was close to giving a direct order to take the protesters’ names off the universities’ books.

“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.

Lukashenka wants opposition-minded students out of universities

The administrations of a number of Belarusian higher education institutions seem to be following his advice. On October 28, a mass wave of expulsions started; the severe measures affected students in different corners of the country. It is known about 18 students removed from Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts, 20 – from Belarusian State Medical University, 9 – from Brest State Technological University. There are also reports about withdrawals from Belarusian National Technical University, Hrodna State University, Belarusian State University of Informatics and Radioelectronics and others.

However, some professors refused to sign expulsion orders. Maryna Lukashevich, Dean of Computer Systems and Networks Faculty at BSUIR, is among them. The woman filed for voluntary leave. Alena Bokhan, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs at the Belarusian State Academy of Arts, did not assent to removing the students who were ‘just espressing their civic stand’ either.

Opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya made a comment on the situation, promising that the expelled on political reasons would be provided with an opportunity to continue their studies abroad. The politician says she is very proud of Belarusian students.

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