By Anush Dashtents
Hundreds of students demonstrated outside the State Pedagogical University (SPU) in Yerevan on Wednesday to protest against the controversial appointment of a new rector by the Education Ministry.
The students, joined by the faculty, braved heavy rain to form a live wall in front of the university building to bar rector Artyusha Ghukasian from entering the building. He nonetheless managed to reach his office from a back entrance.
The protesters, who disrupted classes this week, point to the fact Ghukasian is an outsider who never worked at their university. They claim that he obtained the post because of his friendship with Deputy Education Minister Ara Avetisian.
The university’s academic council comprising leading professors and student representatives approved on Wednesday changes in university statutes whereby only those academics who have worked at SPU for at least four years can serve as rectors. The demonstrators warned that they will resume the protests unless the Justice Ministry endorses those changes.
Ghukasian, however, insisted that the council’s meeting took place in his absence and was therefore illegal.