Sofia University President Prof. Ivan Ilchev: Occupation - Bad Idea
Interview of Novinite.com and Novinite.bg with Professor Ivan Ilchev, Ph.D. in history, president of Sofia University, the oldest and biggest higher education facility in Bulgaria.
In recent days, Bulgaria’s capital Sofia has witnessed a series of student protests and the occupation of university buildings that have injected new life into a persistent anti-government movement.
We talked with Prof. Ilchev as students still occupy “Lecture Hall 272”, the largest teaching room in Sofia University’s St. Kliment Ohridski building.
Professor Ilchev, could you give us an update about the situation at Sofia University? Is it still under anti-governmental siege?
Everything is normal at Sofia University.
But do teachers have access to the building? Is it possible to have lectures and preserve the educational process normal?
No, at the moment this is not possible. Teachers do not have access to the building, only people from the administration staff are allowed to enter. In other words the university staff is looking after its everyday tasks.
Do you expect that the students will decide to put an end to the occupation of the university soon?
I have no idea, I am no Vanga (Bulgaria's most famous clairvoyant).
Do you plan to hold meetings with the protestors, who have occupied the building of the university?
We do that every day, we discuss the situation with them every single day.
What do you think of occupation as a way to show disapproval and protest?
I did my best to convince the protestors occupation of the building is a very bad idea. The declaration of the Academic Council also says that the students should seek other ways of protest, because right now the university is the only institution that suffers losses from this protest, not those against whom it is directed.
Do you sense a political element in the occupation?
Yes, of course.
Politics and protests against the current political order in Bulgaria entered the university. How do you feel about that?
Politics should be kept out of universities. Unfortunately in real life things happen differently and not always as we would like them to happen.
How about meeting students who are against the occupation? May be they can help solve the crisis?
We have tried that too. It is impossible to convince someone, who is determined not to listen to a word you are saying.
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