Why the public can not know how the Senate members vote?

Centre for Civic Education (CCE) points to the fact that the practice of hiding data at the University of Montenegro (UoM) continues, which leads to strengthening of already dramatically low ranking of UoM on worldwide recognized lists that among other indicators assess transparency, as well.

CCE requested from rector of the UoM data on the manner in which members of UoM’s Senate voted during the promotion of Velimir Rakočević into title of regular professor, at the session of the Senate on 23 December 2017. This promotion followed upon the Senate’s decision in July 2017 to suspend the procedure until getting further clarification from the reviewers and the Board of the Faculty of Law, due to the allegations that the submitted scientific works of Rakocević were not in accordance with the content and thematic scope of the Criminal law area within which Rakocević was elected to the title. Still, Rakočević, despite the documented warning that there are no conditions for this promotion submitted by the CCE, was elected at the session on 26 December 2017.

At the end of January 2018, acting on the CCE’s request regarding this voting, UoM referred the CCE to the Minutes from the Senate’s session of 26 December 2017, and in which there is no required data, i.e. manner of individual voting by members of the Senate in the case of Rakočević. In spite of additional urgencies to obtain this information, the UoM management has not yet provided them.

The UoM’s Statute, in Article 37, para 4, prescribes that the Senate shall decide by public vote, except for those issues which are determined by this Statute and other general act that decisions are made by secret voting. The Statute does not, in any part, prescribe that the election into academic titles is carried out by secret procedures, including the voting process.

The following questions emerge: Why is the UoM management hiding who and how voted for the promotion of Rakocevic into title of regular professor? Why the public can’t get official information from the UoM management which members of the UoM Senate support Rakocevic’s approach towards academic work, and which members do not? The CCE publicised that one member of the Senate was against and four were abstained, and we considered and still consider that the public has the right to know how members of the academic community in relation to the Rakocevic case were opting. So far, the public only knows that one professor was against, but those who were behind the promotion of Rakocevic and abstained in this process remain under the veil of mystery.

UoM is obliged to make its work transparent and to abolish existing practices if it wants to improve its current extremely bad position on the world ranking lists that take transparency as an indicator, and this includes full information on such promotions.

Mira Popović, Programme associate