The management of the University of Food Technologies (UFT) in Plovdiv did not allow some of its students to attend the General assembly for the election new chairman of the Student Council. This led to an escalation of tensions where the police were called to the scene to ensure that excesses did not break out. 50 people were not allowed to attend the event, among them were Student Council President Plamen Petrov and Deputy Chairman Ivan Kostov.These actions of the management are a continuation of the case with prof. Plamen Mollov and the lecture related to corruption.
Public activist Konstantin Bachiyski attended an open meeting with students at the UFT on 24 October. It was illegally interrupted by Rector of the educational institution – Plamen Mollov. Bachiyski was invited by Chairman of the Student Council of the University Plamen Petrov. The lecture was on anti-corruption, but at one point it was stopped after the rector of the university tried to expel Bachiyski and his entourage, but it turned out that he had no such powers.
Iskra.bg contacted Plamen Petrov about the unpleasant situation with the management of the University of Food Technology. He commented:
„On Monday, a general assembly of students was held in an illegal way – a group of students had issued an invitation for its convening. This invitation in itself is not legitimate, because the Regulations on the Structure and Activities of the Student Council at the University of Food Technology in Plovdiv were not observed. We, as regular students, wanted to attend this meeting, which is open to all students. External security was hired by the university to keep track of who could and could not enter, and we were not allowed at the meeting. The university has a parallel student organization – „Union of Students in Food Industry and Tourism“, where three PhD students from the institution participate – Dimcho Petrov, Deputy Chairman of the Municipal Council of Plovdiv, IMRO, Desislava Pircheva, wife of Dimcho Petrov, and Kaloyan Kalinin. They were the main initiators of this meeting.„
„We were amazed by the fact that a foreign security company was hired to guard the given event at the university. Apart from that, we were shocked how more than 50 students were not allowed to attend this meeting as it is open to all. I was summoned to the office along with some of the university management and the security firm where I was interrogated. They demanded to take my key and forced me to give it. I locked the room and handed over the key because I had no choice, at which point they sealed the room with patches,„, Petrov said.
The Chairman of the Student Council explained further:
„We called the police because they started pushing us and we were worried about things getting serious. The actions of the private security company were aggressive.“
The Student Council intends to refer the actions of the university management to the Ministry of Education and Science and the Prosecutor’s Office. The complaint will be of several points, each of which contains alleged violations of the Regulations on the Structure and Activities of the Students’ Council at the UFT.
We would like to remind you that the Students’ Council at UFT-Plovdiv accused Rector Plamen Mollov of creating a Komsomol organization at the university, which is the alleged reason for the actions of the management against some of the students. Here is part of a position to the media, where the young people point out:
„We begin to sincerely sympathize with Plamen Mollov and already explain his panic actions. He has experienced a lot of negativity. since May in trying to rebuild the Komsomol. Many institutions have been alerted to the unprecedented situation at UFT. They are all to blame for the escalating tension. Where is the response of the Ministry of Education? Where is the Education Committee of the National Assembly? Where is the PFIA? To a question from Capital newspaper, the ADFI replied that it will start an inspection at UFT by the end of October, today we are already November, no inspection yet. Where is the he Anti-corruption Commission? Back in August it was announced that the commission had launched an investigation against Mollov. And will the Lupean case be swept under the carpet?
Dear institutions, please help Rector Plamen Mollov to get rid of his university, because apparently he is now finding it more and more difficult to apply the methods of management popular more than 33 years ago, in some darker times. We would like to remind you that freedom and democracy came to Bulgaria on November 10 exactly 33 years ago, and we hope that they will soon come to our university despite the delay.“
The Student Council of the UFT in Plovdiv came up with another position, in which they announced that on November 11 the long-awaited General Assembly was held, which started with a scandal because it turned out that its composition and quorum were not clear. Its composition did not include the legally elected student representatives. The current Chairman of the Student Council, Plamen Petrov, who was removed by an order of the Rector, challenged in court, was refused to participate in the votes during the General Assembly on 11 November.
Several questions arise from the situation:
– Can the actions of the management and a rector – involved in several corruption scandals in the public domain – properly and impartially govern a collective body?
– Should the students of the UFT follow specific orders or else everything is declared illegitimate?
– Is this what democracy is all about these days – keeping inconvenient students out of academia?
– Why is it under the aegis of the Rector or the university management that such actions are being taken against certain students?
Are these actions by the management and prof. Mollov are legal or illegal, will still be established by the competent institutions. The Iskra.bg team will continue to follow the case and if proven guilty we will expect the Rector of the UFT to face the weight of Bulgarian law.