Prestigious university in Romania contemplates general strike over seat cuts

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The “Babes-Bolyai” University (UBB) in Cluj-Napoca is considering a work-in strike and even general strike after the Education Ministry has cut 277 state-funded seats of the university for the coming academic year 2018-2019.

The UBB research pro-rector, Daniel David, has announced in a press conference on Friday that the university had asked the Education Ministry for explanations regarding the computation bases that underlay the seat cuts, but received no answer.

We ask the political decision-makers to break off this assault against the competitiveness areas of the academic environment. UBB is waiting for the correction of the errors in allotting the state-funded seats for the bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and PhD degrees. I will propose the UBB Senate that students and professors start a work-in strike, then a general strike,” said David.

Renowned universities will be invited to be part of the European networks and the fact that competitive seats of the Romanian universities are cut will automatically make us less attractive to be part of these networks. I am afraid that the Ministry is working to revise the university ranking, but not according to international standards, but some local ones,” the pro-rector added.

He explained that the ministry aims at presenting new, regional universities set up after the Revolution in 1989 as having national or international reputation, and thus the traditional, big universities will be attacked.

Over time, the local, regional universities have been more politically colored, while the big universities have become stronger, more independent and vocal, with more financial resources and they haven’t been easily subordinated to the politics, on the contrary they have been critical over the political side-slips. We feel the ministry is punishing us now,” he argued.

In his turn, the financial pro-rector of the university, Dan Lazar, has stated that the financial impact caused by the 277-seat cuts (29 for the bachelor’s degree, 200 for the master-s degree and 48 for the PhD) mounts to RON 8.2 million.

It is an unprecedented attack of the ministry against universities (…) which will be thus split, for the seat allotment will mean universities will come into conflict,” Lazar stressed.

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