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HomeLatviaRector faces no-confidence motion amid allegations of sexual harassment at Latvian Academy...

Rector faces no-confidence motion amid allegations of sexual harassment at Latvian Academy of Music

The Council of the Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music (JVLMA) has decided to express no-confidence in the academy’s rector Guntars Pranis and is calling for him to resign amid allegations of sexual harassment of students by the academy’s academic staff, the JVLMA Council informed LETA.

If the rector refuses to stand down, the JVLMA Council will ask JVLMA Senate chair Ilona Meija to address the issue at an extraordinary Senate meeting.

The JVLMA Council indicates that the decision has been taken to alleviate the victims’ sensation of trauma, even though the Council members are aware that this is practically impossible.

The members of the Council also believe that this decision will help to take the necessary measures to prevent any cases of sexual harassment at the JVLMA. According to the Council, this decision will help to restore the reputation of the JVLMA more quickly.

The JVLMA Council first heard about the alleged cases of sexual harassment at the academy last week when the issue was highlighted on the Kultursoks (Culture Shock) program of Latvian Television (LTV).

The JVLMA Council said that the actions taken by the JVLMA rector in response to the reports had been “numerous but ineffective”.  The JVLMA Council believes that in order to eradicate the problem, the academy’s institutional responsibility for cases of sexual abuse must be radically changed and Western standard introduced, making them mandatory for JVLMA academic staff and employees.

Last Saturday, March 9, the JVLMA turned to the State Police over the reports of sexual harassment of female students by some members of the academic staff.

Pranis underlined that such people have no place among the JVLMA staff or Latvian music.

The JVLMA also promised to cooperate with law enforcement authorities and do everything necessary to investigate the wrongdoings. “It is extremely important to us,” the rector stressed.

LTV’s Kultursoks program has obtained testimonies of seven female students of the JVLMA about sexual harassment by certain academic staff members.

LTV has the names of the abusers, but they will not be made public yet, as it is still necessary to work on compelling evidence. The testimonies will be submitted to the Ombudsman’s Office, whose spokeswoman told the LTV program that they suggest of systematic misconduct.

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)

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