call for support

CALL FOR SUPPORT
FROM SOCIOLOGY STUDENTS AT MOSCOW STATE UNIVERSITY

We, a group of students of the Sociology Department at Moscow State University, have asked the department's administration to improve the quality of teaching, stop force-feeding us with ultranationalist propaganda, and ensure acceptable conditions of life and study. In response to our demands, the administration has stepped up repressive measures: friends who were distributing leaflets have been arrested by the police; individual students have been threatened; and the dean's office and a servile student's committee have written a letter to the rector (president) of the university asking to clamp down on any unapproved student protest actions, campaigns, or meetings on campus. All this is part of an attempt to muzzle us and create a wall of silence to conceal the dramatic state of affairs at the department.

In recent years, lectures at the department have become ever more insipid and formal exercises. The administration has cut the number of seminars and practical classes. We are allowed to take ever fewer course units in neighboring disciplines. We are hardly ever given the opportunity to attend talks by outside lecturers. Exam questions are limited to the contents of a textbook authored by the dean. The dean's office has distributed a brochure to all students which approvingly quotes the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," blames Freemasons and Zionists for the world wars, and claims that they control US and British policy and the global financial system.

Studying conditions at the department are unbearable. There are not enough lecture halls, and there is no ventilation. The building is stuffed with video surveillance cameras which the administration uses to track suspect students. Factory-style turnstiles have been installed at the entrance, and the security guards act rudely toward students. We have no library of our own.

We demand that the curricula be changed, competent teachers be invited, students be informed about foreign exchange programs, the rude security guards be dismissed, the rigid gating system be abolished, and a minimum of basic amenities be provided.

We are seeking a public meeting with the dean and rector. Our main objective is to improve the level of teaching and obtain acceptable working conditions for students, but also for the department's faculty, some of whom have expressed their support for us.

Details about the situation at the department and our demands, as well as press reports and letters of support (mostly in Russian), may be found at www.od-group.org.

How can you help?

If you support our demands, please send us an e-mail (info@od-group.org) stating your name, institutional affiliation and position, or leave your details at our web site, www.od-group.org. Please write to the dean and the rector to express your concern, in any language, with a copy to our address. We also ask you to spread this letter widely among your friends and colleagues and ask them to support us. Any advice on how best to achieve our objectives would also be greatly appreciated.

Moscow State University Press Secretary: phone +7-495-939-36-67;
fax: +7-495-939-22-64; e-Mail: press@rector.msu.ru;

Viktor Antonovich Sadovnichy, Rector of Moscow State University:
phone +7-495-939-10-00; fax: +7-495-939-01-26; e-Mail: info@rector.msu.ru;

Vladimir Ivanovich Dobrenkov, Dean of the Sociology Department:
phone/fax: +7-495-939-46-98; E-Mail: vid@socio.msu.ru; или theory@socio.msu.ru;

Administration of the Sociology Department: fax: +7-495-939-46-98;
e-mail: soc@socio.msu.ru.


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