Year of election: Academic Senate to determine date of rector's election

Bratislava, 14 February 2022: Three years ago, the current management of the university convened for the first time. The Rector’s term of office is four years. A new Rector and several Faculty Deans will therefore need to be elected in 2022. The amended Higher Education Act, however, complicates the situation.

17. 02. 2022 10.02 hod.
By: CU External Relations Office

The Rector of Comenius University is elected by sixty-six senators. Each of the thirteen faculties is represented by five senators, three of whom are staff members, two are representatives of students and one represents other organizational units. For the last two decades the election was usually approved at the last Academic Senate assembly in the month of July and took place in November of the same year.

This year, however, the election process will be disrupted by an amendment of the Higher Education Act, which goes to parliament vote in March. Once approved, the new law will enter into force on 1 April 2022. The wording of the act submitted to the parliament for approval would require the university to announce the election nine months ahead, making it impossible to maintain the traditional schedule.

"The presidency of the Academic Senate of Comenius University will propose to its senators not to wait until July and to announce the election of the Rector before the new law enters into force instead. In this way we will avoid the uncertainty of the new act and prevent a situation in which we would have no properly elected rector by January 2023. This procedure also reflects our conviction that the election of the rector is one of the fundamental rights of self-government of modern universities enshrined in the Magna Charta Universitatum. From the very beginning, we have consistently rejected the notion that the university’s management should be determined by nominees whose only qualification is a Bachelor degree and political backing," said Zlatica Plašienková, President of the CU Academic Senate.

The presidency of the Academic Senate plans to announce an extraordinary senate assembly in the coming days in order to set the date of the election. "At the moment, our academic community is intensively discussing the best date for the election. Some members of the community are of the opinion that we should wait for the law to be passed and refrain from provoking tension. I personally reject such subservience to the powers that be. However, the final decision is to be taken by a majority vote. I hope that the dilemma will be resolved so that candidates have enough time to prepare their presentations, and so we can use our last chance to elect a rector without the intervention of the politicians. It will be essential for our university to comply with all the provisions of the law and the Rules of Procedure, and to have a duly elected rector assume his duties in the management of the university by 1 February 2023," added President Plašienková.

The university will hold public hearings of the candidates to ensure an open and transparent procedure.