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Students in Gyumri Boycott Classes to Protest FIring of Professors

Over 50 students of the Shirak State University  have  decided to boycott classes indefinitely to protest the recent firing of professors Hovhannes Khorikyan and Gagik Hambaryan. The students have also written an open letter to Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan, in which they demand that the rector Sahak Minasyan’s sudden decision to sack the professors is overturned.

Recall, the professors were fired last Thursday, a month after they began publicly criticizing and speaking out against Republican rector Minasyan’s “arbitrary conduct.”

“The boycott was completely spontaneous. The rector naturally insists that Gagik Hambaryan and I are encouraging the students; he has gone so far as to claim that we have bribed them to boycott classes. The students have voluntarily collected over 50 signatures and wrote a letter to the president demanding that the rector’s unlawful decision is overturned,” Hovhannes Khorikyan said in a conversation with Epress.am.

The students also demand that the upcoming extended joint meeting of the university’s academic council and its board of trustees scheduled for March 24 is held in the presence of journalists, the protesting students and the dismissed professors to ensure transparency. In addition, they want the university’s official website to publish financial and budget reports for the ongoing and the past 2 years.

When asked whether Hambaryan and he planned to challenge the rector’s decision in court, Khorikyan replied: “We intend to file an appeal either on Wednesday or Thursday; we have been preparing the ground for it. We plan to also file an appeal with the General Prosecutor’s office since we believe that the rector’s activities are criminally punishable.”