Is UoM going back to its old habits in communication?

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) is, for the second time this year, taken aback by low-minded reaction of the University of Montenegro (UoM) that does not respond meaningfully to question initiated by the CCE, which undermines culture of dialogue and suggests that UoM is going back to some old, bad practices of communication with stakeholders.

However, let us go step by step.

First, the CCE is pleased that UoM has upheld the request of the CCE and, finally, began to publish its official statements on the website of UoM. At the same time, we express regret that these statements are still unsigned, full of unfounded allegations and manipulative, because we had hoped that the new management has stopped with that communication approach, which is not appropriate for one academic institution.

Second, there is no need for UoM to teach CCE about procedures of work on UoM, because many times it turned out that CCE knew better laws and procedures than the management of UoM. After all, one of opinions on how the leadership of UoM was legally professional was given also by the Constitutional Court of Montenegro through the Decision of the Constitutional Court of Montenegro, which specifies that the Rules of Procedure for determining interim measures for management and provision of functioning of the UoM No. 07-1784 of 9 October 2012 (UoM Bulletin No. 291/12), adopted by the Administrative Board of UoM is not in line with the Constitution and law, and shall expires on the day of publication of this Decision. Furthermore, the Higher Court in Bijelo Polje has at the time annulled the decision of the Administrative Board of the UoM on dismissal of dean of the Law Faculty, prof. dr Drago Radulović. These questions were timely and argumentatively pointed out by the CCE, which was crudestly attacked by the same old/new president of the Managing Board in the manner of the last UoM press release. However, it seems that annulled decisions of the Managing Board by the highest instances of judicial system in Montenegro are not limiting UoM management to preach others about the law.

Third, the CCE request is in accordance with the internal UoM regulations, which is clearly stated in the announcement. Namely, in accordance with Article 41 of the Statute of UoM, rector within his/her powers, among other things, “gives opinion in the procedure of selection of a dean or director”. In this context, CCE has introduced rector with its findings and asked that she “using institutional capabilities and personal authority, invite the members of the Administrative Board not to confirm appointment of Velimir Rakočević for a dean of the Law Faculty”. Thus, the CCE claim is founded in the supreme act of the UoM, because the rector, by her opinion, may invite members of the Managing Board to make a positive or negative decision on this issue. Additionally, CCE asked that rector takes all measures and actions so that this case is analyzed properly by the relevant independent experts with unquestioned academic integrity and further legally prosecuted. This is embodied in the Code of Ethics of the UoM.

Fourth, there was no need for UoM management to remind the CCE on Rakočević’s biography, and especially not in a selective manner. It is stated in the statement of UoM “We remind that prof. Rakočević has from 2007 to 2010 been a member of the Court of Honor of UoM”. Bulletin 262 of 1 December 2010, states on page 29, in the Report of Commission for Addressing the Housing Needs of Staff and Employees of UoM how this Commission positioned itself regarding the Rakočević’s request: “Applicants… and Velimir Rakočević, ARE EXCLUDED from the process of resolving the housing needs due to the delivery of inaccurate data (item 8 of Call for allocation of apartments to personnel of the University of Montenegro under favorable conditions), in accordance with Article 19, paragraph 4 of the Rules on addressing the housing needs of personnel of UoM (UoM Bulletin No. 245/09)” . Hence, the organs of UoM have, in this case, found that Rakočević did not provide accurate data.

Fifth, CCE is not a court and therefore cannot adjudicate. However, acting in the public interest, CCE points out all available information that require additional explanation, clarification or verification by the competent authorities. By sad attempts to discredit CCE such doubts or problems will not disappear, and competent institutions can show their professionalism and responsibility only by presentation of facts and substantiated answers.

Daliborka Uljarević, executive director