European University Association Defends Tatsiana Khoma
Following the decision by the Belarus State Economic University to expel a fourth year student, Ms Taciana Khoma, for participating in a meeting of the National Unions of Students in Europe (ESIB) without the permission of the university, EUA has suspended the university's EUA membership, and calls upon its members to cease all cooperation with the institution.
On 25 November, EUA President, Professor Georg Winckler, on behalf of EUA's individual and collective members, addressed a letter to the Rector of the university, Professor Shymau, when it was learned that Ms Khoma had been threatened with expulsion as a result of her activities on behalf of national and European students. In this letter, Professor Winckler expressed concern at these developments, referring to the fundamental values and principles of the Association enshrined in the 1988 Magna Charta Universitatum, which include the duty of each university to "ensure that its students' freedoms are safeguarded".
Despite this letter, Ms Khoma was expelled on Friday, 25 November, and ejected immediately from the university dormitory where she was living. On 29 November, Professor Winckler wrote again to Professor Shymau, insisting that this decision be revoked immediately, and stating that if this were not done that EUA would have no option but to suspend the Belarus State Economic University membership of EUA until the university is able to guarantee the common values and principles of European universities.
Professor Shymau has not answered these letters, and has instead issued a statement on the university website that the expulsion of Ms Khoma was justified by her violation of university regulations, and that the decision was made "in accordance with the norms of the Republic of Belarus legislation in the field of education".
EUA calls upon all its member universities to support ESIB's campaign to reinstate Ms Khoma at the university and to continue her studies and other activities on behalf of students free from harassment.