Student Protest '96 - '97

March 19th, 1997

18:00 CET
(17:00 GMT)

The Plato

Our protest's fate was decided tonight. The question was whether the Chancellor's resignation which he handed in ten days ago would be accepted by the University Council or not. The Student Protest was torn by two currents at that point [when the Chancellor handed in his resignation], one demanded the return to class while the other wanted to continue the protest in its usual form - in the street. The voting at the student assemblies showed that the majority of students (60%) wanted to continue the protest, but there was no way nor intention of preventing the other 40% from attending class. All of the schools started regular classes, even though the Main Board had voted that there was change in the protest and that there were still thousands of student gathering every day at the Plato in front of the School of Philosophy. Tonight the long awaited session of the University Council took place. Since it was scheduled for 6 o'clock the student gathering was postponed for two hours. The wether was cold and there was sleet and rain, but still about 2,000 students gathered in front of the Chancellorship which is adjacent to the Plato. Hours passed but little happened in the Chancellorship. The newly appointed members of the Council arrived long before the scheduled beginning, but the session still started about an hour and a half late. There was a large pause during which the members of the Main Board which were present with the conference hall where the session was informed their frozen colleagues of what was going on inside. After about two hours only the first point of the session, the acceptance of the new University Council had been settled. Momcilo Babic, manager of the "Bezanijska Kosa" clinical center and one of the representatives nominated into the Council by the government was elected president of the Council. The following was what we had been waiting for so long: the acceptance of the Chancellor Dragutin Velickovic's resignation. It was expected that there would be a discussion on the subject, but the Dragutin Velickovic had presented a new document in which he handed in his irrevocable resignation thus preventing any discussion. The Council acknowledged the resignation and our third and final demand had been fulfilled. There was a great cheer among the students stiffened by the cold. It was already 11.30 and we were anxious to go for out victory walk. We waited 118 days to hear this announcement and finally it came. In the celebration mood the only person to address us was Cedomir Jovanovic, and we were off.

23:45 CET
(22:45 GMT)

The "Walk"

The walk was a short and fast one. After almost 6 hours of standing in the rain and sleet all we wanted was to move around. We took the most usual route - the "media walk". From the Plato, through Vasina and Kolarceva and down Srpskih Vladara. Counter-right into Kneza Milosa and Takovska then past Grandma Olga, who was up even at this hour, and then back to the Plato via Makedonska and Vasina. A group stayed at the Plato celebrating the end of our four-month struggle. During the walk the acting Chancellor was elected. To the surprise of most of the present people it was Dragan Kuburovic, the vice-chancellor in charge of finances, who had been illegally but legitimately elected on March 2nd by the self-proclaimed University Parliament to be the acting Chancellor and he accepted the nomination. Kuburovic was suspended by the former Chancellor Dragutin Velickovic for this action. Velickovic could only propose the dismissal of Kuburovic, which he did.


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