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Arī Mākslas akadēmijā sūdzības par seksuālu uzmācību

Harassment reports come from Art Academy, too

Sexual remarks, harassment, and more serious offenses have also been reported at other universities. Latvian Television (LTV) has received complaints about Andrejs Ameļkovičs, an assistant professor at the Latvian Academy of Art, who has already been suspended from his post previously. At the Academy of Culture, a lecturer has been dismissed after complaints from students, Latvian Television reported March 13.

"I got inappropriate erotic remarks at the opening of an exhibition by the student group Academia by an Art Academy of Latvia lecturer (who didn't teach me). In public. In front of my work. Tried to shove part of the work down his trousers. He was dismissed the following month after my application and the testimonies of others."

The woman writes on social media that she felt "lucky" at the time. And the academy, in her opinion, is neither the most feminist nor the safest environment. There are problems.

Kristaps Zariņš, the rector of the Academy of Art, said he remembers the case. And admitted that it is not the only one.

Zariņš: "One, you already know, was fired. The other one is a different person. Not the one who was fired."
LTV: "Is the other one Andrejs Ameļkovičs?"
Zariņš: "I can't name names as the head of an institution. You know, there's the personal data regulation. Well, you know. Then you have the information."

LTV has information that Assistant Professor Andrejs Ameļkovičs was previously suspended in connection with indecent remarks on the web. The rector put it this way and confirmed that there were screenshots at the time that proved the professor's guilt.

"There was a suspension. Not just for a day, but for several months. It was discussed. To fire a person, you need a warning. And at the second warning he is fired," explained Zariņš.

LTV has received information about the alleged harassment by the assistant professor, which allegedly took place in real life, not only in correspondence. The accusations are serious. Several unconnected sources are talking about this. One student is prepared to speak anonymously. Her voice and name have been changed.

"He called late in the evenings. At night. Mostly drunk. He texted that he wanted us to come and visit him. And he also made lists of girls he wanted to sleep with from our course. Then it correlated with the grades we got."

From several unrelated sources, it appears that the boundary crossing was also physical.

"I have no personal experience, but I know girls who have. And I don't feel comfortable talking about it."

The assistant professor was suspended on the basis of the obscene correspondence, but there was no consensus in the Ethics Committee on whether to suspend or dismiss.

Andrejs Ameļkovičs himself denied that he would have crossed any boundaries after he took his office again. He said that he'd got his punishment. 

The Rector of the Academy of Music, who was the subject of a motion of no confidence by the Council of the Academy this week, is accused of insufficient leadership. A spokesperson for the Ombudsman's Office also said on LTV that the most important thing is how the university reacts to such signals.

"Even after the first anonymous signal - no matter whether it is an anonymous complaint or a rumor - the university should react. Even more so if such signals start to be repeated. The most effective solution is for the university itself to act," said Ruta Siliņa, a spokesperson for the Ombudsman's Office.

The Academy of Culture has also dismissed a lecturer after anonymous complaints. Moreover, after a relatively minor offense - sexist remarks made by a lecturer during lectures. 

The Rector of the Academy of Culture, Rūta Muktupāvela, admitted that students are subordinates of lecturers and may therefore be afraid to testify: "It is actually up to us - the academic staff, the administration - to make their careers in a way. The academic environment is extremely hierarchical. And of course, students are subordinate persons and will be afraid to testify."

Culture Minister Agnese Logina (Progresīvie), who herself was a student and lecturer at the Academy of Culture, told LTV's "Today's Question" program that she had always felt very safe as a student at the university because Rector Muktupāvela had done a huge job to ensure that students trusted her and the institution's management.

"I would like to see more rectors like this and I would like to see the student as an asset," the Minister said. "The kind of environment we create for our students is what our future depends on."

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