INTERVIEW with prof. Dr. Marija Bogdanovic, Dean of the School of Philosophy
BUM: Can you comment the letter which was allegedly sent to you by a
number of students of the School of Philosophy in which they demand your
MB: I didn't receive any letter. I heard about it on the news. Wait while I read the news in the papers (Politika)
BUM: Who stands behind the letter, in your opinion (without having
to name names)?
MB: The letter in the newspaper is not signed. That is an overcome method of trying to frame people, in this case those who supported the students from the beginning. I have no careerism (in the negative meaning of the word) interests. They came to the conclusion that I might be suitable for the next Chancellor based on the opinion of a few Deans and students, and that my activities are directed towards that goal. There is a procedure for the election of the Chancellor. This decision is not made in one moment and doesn't depend on an individual opinion.
BUM: How do you find the conduct of Mr. Velickovic?
MB: The accepting of the lex specialis in the Serbian Parliament proves that the first of the student demands was completely just. By remaining he [Velickovic] put himself opposite the authorities, i.e. opposite the proposer of the law. Second, the resignation of the Chancellor and the student vice-chancellor are demands set by the students, and later asked by the professors. The Chancellor didn't find it necessary, being the head of the University, to talk to the students regardless of his opinion. He found no reason to call for a session of the University Staff, to address the Deans in the situation which troubled the whole of Serbia. The Chancellor can't allow for officials to name the students fascists, the fifth column, etc. He should have protected the students and clearly say that can't be Chancellor in a state where police can raid buildings of the University and beat students. Third, he can't close the building of the Chancellorship, it is not his private property, that kind of action radicalizes the Student Protest. The authorities have brought the students out of class, and has done nothing to return them.
BUM: Do you know where the Chancellor is presently and when did
you personally speak to him last?
MB: I don't know where he is. I saw him at the session of the University Staff on January 1, and on January 15 at the University Counsil.
BUM: How do you explain the events on that famous session of the
MB: It's hypocrisy! There was a legal twister. The members of the Counsil publicly supported the student demands, the respect of the electoral results, the resignation of the Chancellor and student vice-chancellor, but in the secret vote supported the Chancellor. In that case the three student demands should have been separated and then individually voted for. The students now have two options: the first is to stick to the decision of the Counsil expressed through the public vote and for classes to start after the student demands have been met. The second is to support the Deans, professors and the appointed acting Chancellor Dejan Kuburovic and the University Parliament by returning to class. This would be an active approach of the problems. The efforts to prove that the Chancellor isn't of any importance should be supported. We cannot submit the whole university and studies to one man.
BUM: Some professors and Deans proposed you for the next
Chancellor of the Belgrade University. What are the characteristics which a
real Chancellor should have?
MB: A Chancellor must primarily be an expert in his field of science. He must be a person respected by his colleagues, and a person of moral integrity, who will not promote party interests. In one word - a scholar. He cannot allow himself to be a clerk. I am a university professor and the university is the essence of wisdom. If we already have quality curriculum, the introduction of a party or even multi-party university. I love science, not politics.
Student Vice-lector & Baby Cate