Music academy students report sexual harassment by professors

Jāzeps Vītols' Latvian Academy of Music (JVLMA) approached the State Police on Saturday, March 9 regarding information on the harassment of students as reported by the Latvian Television's "Culture Shock" broadcast a day earlier, the Academy reported.

Testimony of seven JVLMA students regarding sexual harassment by individual teachers has been made available to the LTV program Culture Shock. There have been several complaints about at least one teacher. The academy's leadership has reportedly received complaints for years about individual professors still continuing to teach.

Culture Shock has the names of the alleged perpetrators. They have been decided not to be made public by the program as there is currently a lack of evidence in the event of a trial. But LTV has promised to hand over all the girls' testimony to the Ombudsman's office.

Academy Rector Guntars Prānis said in a statement to the media that, working with law enforcement, JVLMA will do all it needs to investigate alleged wrongdoing and crimes.

JVLMA also invites all potential victims and affected parties to make submissions to any appropriate persons or bodies that can assist in resolving the matter.

“It can be the rector, someone from the rectory office or academy lecturer; it can be law enforcement, a law enforcement officer; they can be whistleblowers,” the academy said.

Prānis promises to personally make sure no submissions go without proper consideration and action, and that academy students get all the protection they can.

“Teachers who implement such inadequate actions against their students have no place in Jāzeps Vītols' Latvian Academy of Music, or Latvian music in general,” the rector emphasized.

Latvian Radio reported on Monday that police have started to evaluate the information about alleged sexual harassment at JVLMA.

A meeting of the Minister for Culture with the Academy Council is planned on Tuesday, March 12, after a meeting of THE Minister with JVLMA Rector Guntars Prānis.

Culture Minister Agnese Logina (Progressives) said in a conversation with Latvian Radio: 'This is an extremely important issue from many angles, both for me as a feminist and for me as culture minister, because the story is about justice and about putting equality into practice. I take this very seriously. This is my priority at the moment, both to familiarise ourselves with the situation and to ensure that we create a system in which student testimonies are taken seriously, where such information is not swept under the carpet, and where there are staff inside universities who are able to handle it. ”

President of Latvia Edgars Rinkēvičs also paid attention to this situation. He wrote on the social network “X”: “Unfortunately, there is a lot of disbelief in our society that people will be heard if they address injustice and misconduct and that an adequate response will follow. I look forward to a swift and thorough investigation of these facts, both by JVLMA and by the responsible authorities, and to an appropriate response.”

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