'Arrogant' dean expelled

August 23, 2002

A Russian university dean has been expelled from an Open Society Institute-funded summer school on human rights after she and other participants complained about standards of teaching and accommodation.

Anna Borisenko, dean of the educational management faculty at Volgograd Pedagogical University, was kicked off the three-week school in Saratov, central Russia, for "arrogance" and stirring up trouble.

Anatoly Azarov, head of the Moscow School of Human Rights, which organised the summer school, said Ms Borisenko had refused to follow ground rules for conduct at the summer school.

"We noticed from the beginning that Ms Borisenko had very high expectations and she soon started to complain - not about the content of the courses, but about the organisation," Mr Azarov said.

He said that complaints about the accommodation were "immoral" when one considered the millions of refugees living in the open without proper nutrition.

Ms Borisenko and six other students wrote a letter of complaint to the OSI, highlighting the "appalling" standard of hotel accommodation in which students shared "dirty rooms with peeling wallpaper" and alleging that most lectures were given by Mr Azarov and not the international experts in human rights as promised.

"The summer school students are all highly qualified - we were chosen from nearly 400 who applied - and it is obvious that the standards are very low," Ms Borisenko said.

Maria Voskobitova, a lawyer at the not-for-profit International Protection Centre in Moscow, who voluntarily left the summer school at the end of the first week, said: "Most of the lectures given in the first week were by Mr Azarov or the two other members of his Moscow school. Their lectures can only be described as being of the level of a high-school course in human rights."

But Yuri Kolosov, director of the department of international law at the Russian foreign ministry's Moscow State Institute of International Relations and a visiting lecturer at the summer school, said: "It is absurd to suggest that there is nothing of value here. The lectures and practical exercises are of the highest quality."

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