Scandal-hit academy head steps down

On Monday, April 15, Guntars Prānis, Rector of the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music (JVLMA), announced his resignation.

The Academy's Senate demanded Prānis' resignation after the Latvian Television show "Culture Shock" published student testimonies about alleged sexual harassment of female students by some of the Academy's lecturers. Initially, Prānis refused to resign.

On April 15, however, Prānis announced his resignation. 

In a statement to the media explaining his decision, Prānis said:

"The scandal in which the Academy is embroiled has been used to get rid of the management of the Academy in the most biased way possible, accusing me of inaction, under the pretext of concern for female students."

"My team and I have immediately done everything to address the situation on its merits, so I could never have imagined such injustice and defamation of myself. I would like to say a big thank you to all those brave people who have remained on the path of justice, fairness, and impartiality in these difficult circumstances [..]," writes Prānis, adding,

"It will be impossible to defend the interests of the Academy before the Ministry of Culture, which since March 11 has believed that my resignation would "relieve tensions" and now cynically accuses me of fighting against the Council's unlawful actions. Given the attitude of the Council and the Minister, I do not see how this can turn out to be a successful, goal-oriented cooperation in the interests of the JVLMA."

Mr Prānis also pointed out that over the past month he had resisted enormous pressure to resign.

He expressed hope that the work he had started would be continued and implemented, and that "in the future, no student, employee or worker will have to experience the unpleasant, horrible situations that have been reported in Culture Shock".


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