Scandal-hit academy pledges to improve transparency, literally

Jāzeps Vītols Latvian Academy of Music (JVLMA), where accusations of harassment have recently come to light, is equipping classrooms with windows to improve safety, LETA news agency found out May 14.

Currently, a window has been installed in a classroom in the JVLMA building at 23 Raiņa Boulevard, one of the rooms where such an installation is possible. It cost 180 euros. Once funding is found for further work, such windows could potentially be installed in more classrooms.

Armands Lapiņš, Director of Infrastructure at the JVLMA, added that glass windows, as well as glass doors and walls, are already common practice in many music schools and universities around the world. Similarly, the JVLMA building at 23 Raiņa Boulevard has a number of rooms with glass walls. The JVLMA will see what feedback students and lecturers have on this solution.

Lapiņš, however, acknowledged that it is not possible to accommodate glass windows in all the Academy's classrooms. The building at 1 Krišjāņa Barona Street is an architectural monument of national importance, and interference with its historical appearance is not allowed. There are also many rooms with double doors, and/or the introduction of such windows would interfere with sound insulation, Lapiņš explained.

As for other security measures, Timurs Tomsons, chairman of the JVLMA Council, said that the JVLMA has developed an eight-point plan based on the solutions of the best European music universities and a survey of what the Academy's students consider to be priorities. The plan includes raising awareness of a safe environment, training for staff and students, improving the reporting mechanism for possible violations, improving the support system for students and staff, as well as clarifying the regulatory framework.

The Academy has also considered the possibility of equipping classrooms with video surveillance devices, but this option has not been supported by either students or lecturers.

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