25. 06. 2020 13:32
A "we're leaving" letter from a group of 25 members of the academic staff from the Faculty of Informatics and Information Technologies of the Slovak University of Technology arrived on June 23 in students' mailboxes. Most of the faculty's original academic staff and two thirds of all professors and associate professors along with several guarantors of study programs are leaving the internationally acclaimed IT faculty. The departing academics joined a warning strike in early March. Problems at the faculty made headlines in January of this year when Mária Bieliková, the former dean of the faculty, was given a termination notice. Soon after, some of her colleagues launched a strike, which was suspended by the pandemic.
The 25 departing academics write in their open letter that in order to maintain their moral integrity, they can no longer function under current conditions. At the same time, they ask the students for their understanding, as they deem this solution to be the only possible one in the current situation. However, they state that in this situation they do not feel sufficient support within the university. Disputes at the faculty have escalated after former dean Maria Bielikova was fired on January 9. Another problem was that the new dean Ivan Kotuliak had hired a large number of new employees before elections were held for the academic senate of the faculty, thus increasing the number of eligible voters who were to decide on members of the senate.
Slovak University of Technology Chancellor Martin Fikar and the chairman of the university's Academic Senate, Marian Peciar, have declared that they are seeking ways to prevent the "disintegration" of the Faculty of Informatics and Information Technologies after most of its original lecturers announced their resignation. "More than one third of all students are openly demanding the resignation of dean Ivan Kotuliak. Their voice also needs to be taken seriously. Many students have written to me in recent days, stating that they want to study elsewhere due to the recent developments at the faculty," said the chancellor, adding that he will initiate talks aimed at resolving the situation.