We must allow conservative voices at universities: Education Minister

“We must allow conservative voices at universities,” Minister of Education and Science (MEiN) Przemysław Czarnek told “Gazeta Polska” (GP) daily, adding that “the Academic Freedom Package is already being processed by the Council of Ministers.”

"I hope that the package will be adopted this month and will go to the Sejm (parliament’s lower house), so that from autumn one cannot be held disciplinary responsible for expressing their ideological beliefs. After all, the constitution guarantees this," said Mr Czarnek.

The aim of the package is to guarantee freedom of speech and enable exchange of ideas at universities, but it will not allow the glorification of Nazism or Communism.

"The beliefs that a marriage is between a woman and a man, that a father is the father, and a mother is the mother, are beliefs that can be proclaimed at universities and one cannot be held responsible for them. What happened at the University of Silesia in the case of Prof. Ewa Budzyńska, where I sent my representative to the last hearing, was a 9-hour demonstration of something that hasn’t taken place even in the People's Republic of Poland (PRL). The law will settle the matter, because it will prohibit the restrictions on proclaiming beliefs. The university rector will also be obliged to provide infrastructure for various conferences, not only left-wing ones,” the minister said.

He added that this would also result in pending disciplinary proceedings being discontinued.

"We must have greater influence on the study programmes, I have no doubt about that. We must allow conservative voices at universities, which is the purpose of the aforementioned Academic Freedom Package. One of the rectors of one of the most important universities in Poland recently told me that the community of left wing activists and communists is roughly 15 percent of his teaching staff. The radical right, similar to the Confederation (Konfederacja) party, accounts for 6 percent of the staff. The conservatives and the center are intimidated and afraid to speak their mind. We must “free” normality at universities and this is the direction we are heading in,” Mr Czarnek concluded.