The Russian education watchdog Rosobrnadzor has stripped the prestigious European University at St Petersburg (EUSP) of its licence, forcing the institution to halt all activity.
The order came on Friday, after a city court ruled that EUSP had violated a number of regulations, including an inadequate proportion of the political science and sociology department being primarily engaged in practical work in the field, and not having a student sports centre “at the location specified on its licence”.
EUSP, a private graduate school known as an outstanding institution in humanities and social sciences, runs programmes in both Russian and English and employs professors from several leading western universities.
According to a statement on EUSP's website, the initial inspection by Rosobrnadzor had been prompted by a complaint by ultra-conservative St Petersburg lawmaker and State Duma deputy Vitaly Milonov, known for his campaigning against “gay propaganda”.
University officials affirmed that the Russian government “supported” the university's cause, keen to quash any suggestion that the Kremlin disapproved of the university's international outlook.
“We expect that Rosobrnadzor themselves will find a way to step back from their initial decision,” wrote Gevorg Avetikyan, associate director for the MA in Russian and Eurasian studies, in a Facebook post.
Some media outlets have reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been asked to intervene. Meanwhile, students are waiting with baited breath to hear whether they will be able to receive their degrees in the leadup to a meeting between government officials and the university rector on Wednesday.
Source: The Moscow Times