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Faculty of Philology

Belgrade

Case Study

Received: 20.02.1999 

THE CASE OF THE FACULTY OF PHILOLOGY


From Conceptual Crisis to Collapse

 

From the outside, one may get the impression that the conflict at the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade developed between the dean Radmilo Marojevic, appointed by the government in July 1998 upon the proposal of the Serbian Radical Party, on one side, and the majority of the Facultyís employees and a large number of active students, on the other. In this sense the events at the Faculty necessarily resulted from the new University Act, the Facultys Statute and the deans self-will. However, these events were also the consequence of a rather lengthy internal development. Without actually knowing about it, it would be very difficult to account for the relatively slow and not entirely adequate collective response of the Facultys staff to the challenge it had to face.

The events which transpired in the period under consideration, that is from June 1998 until the end of February 1999 should, presumably, also be viewed within the context of developments at the University in general. Unfortunately, we still do not have a critical review of the Universitys history over the past few decades, or a comprehensive and factual chronicle of the Faculty of Philology. Neither do we have an analysis of relevant indicators revealing the structure of the teaching staff, recruitment of students, employment of graduates, the manner of writing the election and reelection reports and so on. This is due to the Universitys and Facultys traditional lack of interests in itself as much as to an awareness that any historiography would, of necessity, have to take an analytical as well as critical approach, which is, at least at this point of time, hardly feasible for a number of reasons which apply to any critical consideration of the present times in general. 

Since I had neither the time nor possibilities for a systematic research, I have based my analysis on personal observations formed over more than two decades of work at the Faculty, with all the limitations imposed by an approach of this kind.

Politics and law as mechanisms of control

The most important mechanism for controlling the work of a faculty is the political will of the power. As for the ways of manifesting this control, they largely depend on the political relevance of the science which is being studied and thought at a specific faculty and its possible commercial importance. Philology is a science which has a direct political bearing primarily in the study of ones mother tongue and literature and relevant instructions at all levels of education. This tradition originates from the second half of the past century and the early years of this century when national philology, together with national history, had an inevitable role in creating the nation and national ideology. In our midst, regardless of the changes in prevailing ideologies, particularly inflammable in ideological terms were the issues of delimitation of the Serbo-Croatian language and literature along national lines.

For instance, the question of whether the literature of Dubrovnik was Croatian, Serbian or both, forms the very core of the literary-historiographical conflict between the Croatian and Serbian nationalists. The establishment, interpretation and transfer of the national literary canon invariably provoke overt or concealed polemics with every change of ranks among those who decide on the selection of compulsory reading at all levels of the educational system. As for the language itself, the main controversy is whether there is one Serbo-Croatian standard language with variants, or two or more different standard languages. The argument goes far beyond the Faculty of Philology since it involves the general attitude towards the problems of establishing norms for a standard language, attitudes towards dialects, the understanding of the history of Serbo-Croatian language, teaching of the language at foreign universities, the work of the Serbian Language Institute attached to the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, etc. In a wider context, the problem extends to the writing of textbooks and manuals in mother tongue, obligatory orthography, instructions in Serbian language and literature at foreign universities and a series of other matters of culture and education. During the past year all these issues were not only renewed but taken to the extreme by a group of philologists and literates, as they chose to call themselves, gathered around Radmilo Marojevic. This has caused the sharpest conflicts so far, although not with the nationalists among the Croatian linguists, but with the prevailing number of the Serbian philologists.

The political importance of foreign philologies at the Faculty is much lower. However, shifting the focus on or away from specific languages and literatures has, as a rule, reflected the changes in political relations both within the former Yugoslavia and with other countries. This may be illustrated by a few examples. The Slovene and Macedonian languages and literature were bracketed together with the studies of the Serbian language and Yugoslav literature, according to the territorial principle of belonging to the former Yugoslavia, as opposed to the Bulgarian language and literature, despite the fact that all three belong to the South Slavic group of languages. After the disintegration of former Yugoslavia, the Slovene and Macedonian languages and literatures were detached from the studies of the Serbian language and literature. Croatian literature has a fairly undefined position and comments are often heard that the status of its studies in Belgrade should match the one accorded to the studies of Serbian language and literature in Croatia. As for the Albanian language and literature the issue of whether they should be studied in Belgrade as mother or non-mother tongue and literature has never been clearly settled. Attitudes towards the teaching of foreign languages and literatures, especially those of neighboring or geographically close countries changed depending on the political relations with the state concerned, so that the introduction of studies of the modern Greek language and literature was not explained on grounds of professional standards, which would have required this to be done much earlier, but rather by the ties with the brotherly Orthodox Greek nation. The relation between certain world languages and their representation in elementary and secondary schools, especially the position of the Russian language compared with that of English, German and French, and thereby also the emphasis on their teaching at the faculty, depended on foreign political relations. It was even conceivable that the attitude towards certain peers of literature or science of a language and its letters be determined by political standards. 

All this formed a picture of highly entangled internal relations and reactions at the Faculty. Political control over the Faculty was carried out in two ways. Direct interventions from without or from above, first through the Party branch and then also via the Faculty Council, were fairly few. By contrast, indirect control from within was rather tangible and revealed in the activity of certain teachers and associates, as well as the established Rules of Conduct with Foreigners (fortunately, not rigorously applied), and the direct insight of the Security Service through its men at the Faculty.

However, the atmosphere at the Faculty of Philology was fairly calm. In the second half of the 1970s and the early 1980s the requirement for moral and political suitability was more of a ritual than anything else. I can recall only one case when an assistant lecturer of the French language failed to be reelected, formally because he lacked the moral and political suitability, although the actual background was entirely different and he was subsequently reassigned to an administrative staff duty. Essentially, the use of politics was, in a few cases, merely a cover for actions which had nothing to do with it. Internal censorship sufficed to prevent major strayings from the correct course. Sheer political rule appeared on the scene only after Radmilo Marojevic had been appointed the dean.

Until the adoption of the most recent University Act, the law as the other basic control mechanism did not have a significant influence on the operation of the Faculty of Philology. Over the past 20 years, there were practiclly no external interferences or references to the law which might be interpreted as straightforward legal limitations of academic freedoms. Only in a few specific cases did the law impose certain limitations. For instance, both the current and previous Acts require that reports for the masters degree as well as doctoral theses must be written in the Serbian language, which is of importance for the development of the Serbian scientific idiom, but is an inferior solution for foreign philologists, and partly also for the Serbo-Croatian studies; the domestic scientific public is more than limited and the joining in of foreign opponents is practically inconceivable. In the absence of political will to ask for a different solutionfor instance the freedom of the candidate to agree with the commission on the language to be used for writing the paper and for its defensethis provision of the Act elicited no reaction.

Real limitations of academic freedoms, therefore, are not the outcome of political pressures and legal provisions so much as of the fear inherited from the initial post-war years, opportunistic behaviour of certain teachers and overall conservativeness in matters of teaching and science. More precisely, due to the highly traditional culture of the institution and traditional scientific paradigms at certain departments, as well as clannish and individual interests, overly provocative issues were avoided as were also those which might have disrupted the Facultys balance.


 

The emerging of the crisis


 

In the post-war period, especially from the mid-sixties onwards, the Faculty of Philology experienced a powerful development with an enormous increase in the number of students and introduction of a series of new study groups. In addition to a highly ramified structure which made the Faculty one of the largest in terms of numbers of its teaching staff (close to 215 before the most recent events) and students (about 800,000 active and 12,000 registered), this development completely changed the internal relations. In addition, language studies have also been introduced in a number of other university centres and the Faculty of Philology in Belgrade was no longer the only place one could go to study languages.

There are at least seven basic categories of study groups at the Faculty of Philology: mother tongue and literature (the so-called national departments), foreign languages taught in schools (English, French, German, Russian), languages considered significant in terms of the number of their speakers, number of states where they are spoken or their economic importance (e.g. Chinese, Spanish, Arab, Japanese, Italian), languages of neighbouring states which are as a rule minority languages in Serbia (for instance Romanian, Hungarian, Albanian) and other languages of diverse characteristics, as well as heterogeneous translingual departments such as general linguistics, world literature or librarianship. This results in different importance and positions of specific departments, different number of teachers and different conditions for engaging in teaching and scientific activities, as well as a highly diverse social background of their respective students and vastly different employment prospects for their graduates. The following are but a few examples to illustrate this point. 

There is a difference between scientific involvement in a language spoken by a few dozen thousand of people and that spoken by a few hundred million, languages and literatures of neighboring countries and geographically distant ones, or working in a group with 20-30 teachers and with merely one, as there is also a difference between teaching in a department with fifteen students, or in one enrolling two thousand. This gave rise to different relations among specific departments and essentially resulted in an almost negligible inter-departmental communication. 

Where students are concerned, Serbian language and literature are no doubt the most important subjects taught in schools, but they have for years attracted students primarily from the lower strata, poor environments and rural areas, and quite often graduates of teachers schools. On the average, the results of admission exams failed to indicate a particularly high quality of students, and this picture has started to change for the better only in recent years. Russian was studied by students from those parts of the country where the Russian language was taught in secondary schools to a greater extent, primarily the Serbian south-east, and they even more often came from the lower strata and had rather poor grades. English, Spanish and Italian departments attracted students from the upper strata and urban environments, with high average results at entrance exams, followed by Chinese, Japanese, Greek and Scandinavian languages. These departments always had more candidates than they could possibly enroll.

Over time, this internal complexity created a kind of a permanent crisis. The Faculty of Philology turned from a teachers faculty into one which devoted only a minor part of its activity to the production of teachers and there was a lot of commotion when the law was invoked initially to set up and then abolish the programs which, for the first time, laid bare the discrepancy between what the Faculty was anticipated to do and what it actually did. The huge differences in the quality of newly enrolled students by departments were also reflected in vastly different possibilities to renew the teaching staff, especially ever since other universities started establishing departments for linguistic studies. Furthermore, a Faculty which had a small number of students turned into a mass educational institution. Finally, the breakup of former Yugoslavia set off a politically determined reordering of subjects, teachers, importance and understanding of specific languages and literatures. The Faculty of Philology faced this challenge unprepared in both personnel and conceptual terms and entered a crisis it could not solve and moreover did not even try to resolve, as revealed by the following examples.

During the past decade the phonetic laboratory of the Faculty became practically inoperational due to poor management and faulty personnel policy, but this failed to provoke any reaction. The Literary-Scientific Section, envisaged as a panel for professional discussion has never actually opened in earnest, since the eyes of those who should have formed its backbone, were turned towards the Academy of Sciences and Arts, the publishing houses, magazinesthus places where external promotion and gains were expected. The Linguistic Section stopped working after a few years, having been taken over by one of those who were later to join Marojevicís group and remained benumbed for reasons we could only guess at. However, it is characteristic that no one considered it necessary to at least try and revive their work. In the like manner, the Society for Foreign Languages and Literature and the Society for Applied Linguistics was rendered inactive. The Faculty was thus left practically without any internal or external professional life while its Scientific and Educational Council decreasingly functioned as a professional body.

In addition, in the late 1980s and the early 1990s the standards for election to specific teaching positions were somewhat eased so that, along with good teachers and associates a number of the less appropriate was admitted or promoted. Then, the younger cadre started to dissipate and it became increasingly difficult to find a good assistant. At the same time, the view that whoever was missing was dispensable was adopted. One could say that in the first half of the 1990s the Faculty of Philology basically grew indifferent to the personnel policy outside the narrow clannish interests. That happened precisely at a moment when it became clear that the deep political divisions, primarily concerning the so-called national policy, would have a large influence on the overall development of the Faculty. On top of all that, extremely unfavourable material situationlow salaries, practically discontinued acquisition of professional literature, slowed down technical development, drastically worn out equipment, lack of heating and so onsubstantially disheartened the teachers and associates to engage in instructions and science and made quite a few of them look for gainful work outside the Faculty.

On the whole, the personnel resistance of the Faculty at the time Marojevic was appointed its dean, was remarkably reduced.

 

The disrupted balance

 

It is an academic tradition that the dean is considered the first among equal, and the Faculty of Philology has observed it, more or less, at all times. In matters related to teaching and scientific issues the dean, as a rule, relied on the Educational and Scientific Council which, at the Faculty of Philology, consisted of the complete teaching staff, while in all other matters the dean referred to appropriate professional services and the Faculty Council, and more or less regularly informed the teaching staff about the overall operation of the Faculty. This formed a management quadrangle consisting of formal bodies, such as the dean, Scientific and Educational Council and occasionally Faculty Council (now called the Managing Board), along with the informal influence of the administration, or rather the secretariat of the Faculty and the heads of services for general affairs, financial and material operations and students affairs. This created an intricate balance of varying knowledge and competences, highly unstable since the times of self-management, and easily disruptible in the struggle for power and influence.

The key in this quadrangle is the personality of the dean. The Faculty of Philology had deans of highly diverse ambitions and abilities, but the actual situation at the Faculty was formed during the terms of office of the previous two deans, Nikaa Stipcevic, professor of Italian literature and Slobodan Grubacic, professor of German literature. During their terms of office, repeatedly renewed for the first time in the history of the Faculty, the previous balance was upset and the centre of management shifted towards the dean and, in time, towards an increasingly stronger role of heads of certain services. Thereby the balance was changed and business management introduced, while the teaching staff was practically left uninformed about anything but the issues which were, according to the law, within the competence of the Scientific and Educational Council. Everything else was generally subject to guesswork. In all truth, the long-drawn-out financial crisis finally shrunk the interest of the teaching staff to the payment of salaries, food and holiday allowances. The lack of interest, disinclination towards any engagement, the absence of awareness of actual relations between the government as the employer and teachers, associates, administrative and technical staff as employees all resulted in the fact that the Faculty of Philology trade union branch was not formed before mid-1998.

Since due to economizing with paper the documents for Educational and Scientific Councils sessions were reproduced in a small number of copies, and since moreover, the interest in the sessions was not particularly large, the work of the Council was, over the past years, largely reduced to a ritual vote on certain decisions with an occasional voice of dissent in the case of candidates proposed for lower teaching positions or when the topics for masters or doctoral theses were clearly below the admissible level. Less than ever before the Faculty operated as an organic whole and appeared mostly as a conglomerate of loosely linked departments and seminars. However, the internal disagreements and misunderstandings notwithstanding, the abolishment of the Scientific and Educational Council consisting of all teachers and associates was experienced by many as the abolishment of the single body wherein we felt as part of a collective.

This kind of development created a soil equally fertile for a true renewal of interest in the Faculty and for the appearance of a dean such as Radmilo Marojevic. The latter came true because the Serbian Radical Party had only one member among the professors at the Faculty of Philology, and Marojevic was also instrumental as a link with the extreme nationalist opposition in Russia. It was precisely this party, a coalition partner of the Socialist Party of Serbia in the republic government, that appropriated the right to appoint the new dean for itself.


 

The ongoing conflict
 

Using the brutal force of political authority and extremely rigid interpretation of the University Act, the new dean, from early July until November 1998 managed to lead the Faculty deep into a crisis and then, until he was de facto replaced by the government in mid-February, took a series of decisions which brought the Faculty practically to a collapse. Thereby he provoked the sharpest possible conflict the consequences of which may prove more detrimental for the Faculty of Philology and philology in Serbia than any of the previous events ever could

Radmilo Marojevi graduated with honours from he Department of the Russian Language and Literature and the Faculty of Political Sciences. As atn activist of the League of Communists he was the first student elected vice-dean and is generally remembered by the teachers and students in negative terms. As a Montenegrin and party cadre he transferred from the Faculty of Political Sciences, where he worked as Russian language instructor, to the Faculty of Philology. He was extremely diligent and published a large number of papers advancing fast towards the title of a full professor. His papers range from very good to very poor. The gravest deficiency of his works are his manifest theoretic manner and remarkable reliance primarily on Russian literature, probably due to the lack of knowledge of other languages. During the past few years he published a very large number of works dealing with socio-linguistic problems of the Serbo-Croatian language in a highly unprofessional manner, clearly subordinating professional arguments to political beliefs and programs. His attitude to other colleagues was generally bad and highly selfish. He is extremely persistent, inflexible, inconsiderate and has developed a messianic understanding of his own personality.

In the first stage of his political development he was an ardent Montenegrin, a communist, internationalist and atheist but with the aggravation of the political crisis and an enormous increase in his ambitions and after a clean split with those who previously offered him support, particularly from the circles of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, he turned into a Serb in the extreme, a radical, a zealot of pan-Slavism and Orthodoxy. He gathered around himself a smallish group of like-minded people, mostly from Montenegro and Republika Srpska, coming from marginal universities and with extremely nationalistic views. Marojevic obviously looked upon the office of the dean as a means to submit to himself the key part of philology in Serbia and win a position wherefrom he could channel its further development. These efforts of his reveal two mutually connected, internal and external, lines. The sequence of internal events from June 1998 until the end of February this year may be basically outlined as follows.

The response to the new University Act came already in June taking the form of one-week stoppage of exams on the basis of a decision of the former Scientific and Educational Council. Then everything came to a halt in expectation of the appointment of the new dean. The teaching staff generally engaged in discussions whether the employment contracts should or should not be signed, speculating who the new dean might be and, for the most part, perished the thought that he could turn out to be a person so controvertible as Radmilo Marojevic. The first move of the new dean was to prohibit the employees to leave Belgrade until August 5. Meanwhile, with the help of a legal expert of the Serbian Radical Party he developed a draft of the new statute. Coming to his first meeting with the teaching staff which should have considered the proposal, the dean brought with him only the rules of procedure for that particular meeting which rendered any discussion meaningless since the document entitled him to give someone the floor or cut them off at will and enter in the records of the meeting only what he saw fit. An overwhelming majority of participants walked out, while about 30 remained with Marojevic to support him out of conviction or convenience. About 150 teachers and associates, of the total number of approximately 215 at the time, held their meeting in Hall 11. However, some dissipation was immediately noted since only about 130 signed the statement opposing the deans intentions. On the last day for signing the employment contracts, August 5, about 30 teachers and associates refused to sign, although later on during that year a number of them gave in to pressure and threats.

After about a month of calm during August and when September exams were over, the dean ordered the retirement of all who met the legally prescribed conditions to be pensioned off, including even those whose employment contracts were extended by the previous dean as necessary for instructions. Thus a professor of the English language and literature and general linguistics Ranko Bugarski was forced into retirement, while professor of medieval literature Djordje Trifunovic was sacked only a few months before he was due to retire. At the same time a number of employees decided to take early retirement, including e.g. professor of German language Zoran Ziletic, professor of Russian literature Miodrag Sibinovic, professor of Serbian language Darinka Gortan-Premk and a few others, although most of them could stay on beyond the retirement age limit in view of teaching requirements. During the next few weeks a number of teachers and associates resigned on their own, for instance assistant professor of Italian literature Zeljko Djuric and a few assistants at Spanish and English language departments.

After the October exam term was over the new Dean first suspended all teachers and associates who had failed to sign employment contractsabout 30 in allincluding practically the entire Department of World Literature and Theory of Literature and individual teachers and associates of a few other departments and then dismissed a number of the suspended: professor Vladeta Jankovic and assistant professors Aleksandar Ilic and Zoran Milutinovic of the Department of World literature, Predrag Stanojevic assistant at the Department of Serbian Literature; professor Slobodan Vukobrat and Srdjan Vujica, assistant at the Department of English Language; and Branka Nikolic, an assistant in Hebrew and the only connoisseur of the language here.

This virtually ended the Department for General Literature and Theory of Literature. The Department of Italian Language was down to one associate professor, one assistant professor and one teaching instructor, so the instructions were practically discontinued, as was also the teaching of Hebrew, while the Department of English Literature was left without an assistant in literature and so on.

After that, the dean reassigned a number of teachers to other subjects taking their own away and finally persuaded the Managing Board to accept his proposal of the statute which created a completely chaotic and arbitrary organization of the faculty he believed would give him full control over it and, at the same time, assigned himself a few dozens of authorities. The students responded by boycotting the instructions and the teachers organized one-hour strike of warning. They also drew up a request to replace the dean, reestablish the previous organization of the Faculty and the Educational and Scientific Council, restore to instructions all the suspended or dismissed teachers and annual all irregularly announced job openings.

The dean banned entry to faculty buildings to all who had been dismissed or retired and gave them a two-hour deadline to move out of their offices. In order to secure physical control over the faculty buildings he ordered all entries but one closed and brought unidentified guards who harassed the employees and students for three weeks during November causing a series of incidents. At the same time, the rectors office gave instructions to hold additional exams in October, November and January hoping to secure the support of students which nevertheless went missing.

However, divisions and realignment among the teachers were already under way. A number of teachers still conducted instructions and some of them provided loud support to the new dean for political or opportunistic reasons. In order to ensure the holding of instructions and reinforce his influence, the dean started taking over politically like-minded teachers and associates from other faculties and then, violating even the statute he himself had made, invited competitions for non-existent subjects, for instance general and German literature, to compensate for the gaps he had created by suspensions, dismissals and retirement. The teachers brought this way would not have measured up in the regular electoral procedure at the Faculty of Philology. Incapable and still more reluctant to resolve the problems, the dean started to resort to closing the building completely with increasing frequency, thereby alone cutting the instructions down for a few weeks, while the volume of his threats and pressures on individual teachers and associates kept swelling. At the same time, almost all other activities at the Faculty came to a standstill because he was simply incapable of managing the work independently and was, moreover, absent from the Faculty a few days a week since, as it is known, he also lectures in other towns, least-wise Kragujevac, Niksic and Banja Luka.

However, in only a few days, 104 signatures were collected on a request to the government and the competent minister to replace the dean and normalize the instructions by restoring the previous Faculty organization and the Educational and Scientific Council consisting of all teachers and associates, but no response was forthcoming from either the government or the minister at that time or even later. After that, the majority of teachers and associates voted for the postponement of exams in January and February terms and the start up of instructions in the summer semester. From the very beginning Marojevicís relations with the Managing Board were rather tense, since he considered it his executive body, but on December 11, when his self-will started to exceed the limits acceptable even to the government-appointed Managing Board, it proposed a few decisions to at least calm the situation somewhat, but the government once again failed to react. During the vacations and while the faculty was closed down on the deans orders, the protest, out of fatigue, started to dissipate. But, February 4 marked a turning point. On that day, a group of clubbers arriving at the Faculty at 6.45 p.m., with the knowledge of the dean (although it is not certain whether they acted on his instructions or an order from higher up), beat and threw out of the building a large group of students and teachers who wanted to protest by remaining at the Faculty around-the-clock. 

Until that time the teachers actions were mainly guided by the Strikers Committee, but from that moment on the key role was taken over by the Department of Serbian Language and Literature which was the main target of the deans attacks. At the same time, negotiations were conducted with the Managing Board and the rectors collegium. Pressured by the protest and the fact that the deans utterly unproductive conduct had already became a burden for the Serbian Radical Party itself, the Managing Board issued a release whereby, along with enormous praise of the dean, it asked the government to relieve him of his duties as he himself requested so he could go to Moscow for a three-year assignment on a Serbian-Russian language project, which was no more than a fiction. Meanwhile, the initiated court proceedings were still under way except in the case of Ranko Bugarski who was temporarily restored to his job by the court, although Radmilo Marojevic refused to comply with the ruling. At the same time, until the very last moment, he tried to inflict additional damage on the Faculty and thus, e.g. withdrew the signature he had been forced to give, from the request to the public prosecutor to secure extrajudicial settlement with the dismissed and to restore them to their jobs and, in addition, took a few more decisions affecting the protesters.

Two weeks later, after a lot of guessing as to who the new dean would be, the office was filled by Rade Bozovic, professor of Arab language and literature, columnist of the daily Borba and member of the Managing Board. On March 1, the new dean brought all the dismissed teachers and associates back and after almost four months of protests the situation at the Faculty started to calm down. However, a lot of problems are still outstanding, from the complete reestablishment of the dismissed, to the solution for the status of those Marojevic had brought there in order to renew the departments most seriously affected by protracted destructive work.

That was the internal course of the conflict. In it Marojevic primarily aimed at the national departments and the department for Slavic languages due to external developments. All other departments had a secondary role, which naturally did not diminish the damage he inflicted upon them. On the other hand, Marojevicís design was much bigger: to place the Serbian philology under his control. It hinged on a completely or almost completely scientifically unfounded understanding of the Serbian language and literature with extreme nationalistic foundations, the main ideas of which he and the group around him presented in the first two editions of the new magazine called Srbistika (Serbian language and literature) in the summer of 1998 after he had been appointed the dean in a paper called Slovo o srpskom jeziku (An Address on the Serbian Language). In an interview he gave, Marojevic stated that these considerations would in future present the bases for teaching the Serbian language and literature at the Faculty of Philology. It is a program the counterpart for which can only be found in the curricula of the Nazi Germany or the imposition of Marcís linguistics and Lysenkoís biological understandings in the former Soviet Union. In order to do precisely that, immediately after taking over as dean, Marojevic assumed control of the International Slavic Centre and sent a letter attempting to take control of the Slavic Society of Serbia and the Union of Slavic Societies of Yugoslavia and, at the same time, started to mount attacks on the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts and Matica srpska (Serbian Mainstream Society) on a wide front, accusing them of being treacherous institutions. People who were close to him say his ambitions went further than that.

His politics at the Faculty was a true reflection of the Serbian Radical Partys policy. The history of the Faculty has no previous record of so much damage inflicted on the institution, science and relations among the people concerned in so short a time, even during the German occupation during World War Two. The Faculty has been disastrously set back in every respect and it will take years to recover under condition that Marojevicís line does not prevail through those who share his views at the Faculty, including both the old-timers and the new staff he brought during his terms of office or installed there by legal pressure. Divisions in various departments are sharp and there is a lot of bargaining behind the scenes, many internal departmental disagreements have been brought to the boiling point by Marojevicís systematic fanning of the conflicts. On the other hand, Marojevic has managed not only to unify a large number of teachers and associates who previously barely knew each other, or displayed largely different views, but he also succeeded in turning against himself the bulk of the administrative and technical personnel who could not go about their duties normally. In addition, the employees have started to understand that they need a strong trade union organization in order to be able to keep going. Thus, there was a positive element to the events, after all.


 

SOCIOLOGIJA, Vol. XL (1998), No 4, p.12.

Ljubisa Rajic