WXBC Bard College Radio

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09/16/2008

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An Open Letter to President Botstein To: president Botstein and vice president Becker I am writing to bring to your attention the fact of the persecution of a faculty member from the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences (formerly Smolny College), Dr. Carine Clemant. Dr. Clemant worked for a long time on organizing a conference “Nationalism, Empire, and the State” that the University and the Faculty initially approved. A few days before the beginning of the conference the permission was withdrawn. Prof. Clemant found herself in a very difficult situation since the participants from Russia and other countries had already made plans to be in St. Petersburg. She complained to the administration but to no avail. In the last minute the Higher School of Economics extended an invitation and hosted the conference in its building. Shortly after the conference, police came at 7 a.m. to the residence where Prof. Clemant is registered. She was not at this residence since she spent that night at another apartment where her husband and her daughter (both Russian citizens) live. Police also visited the residence of Prof. Clemant the following day and again did not find her there. The police filed a legal suit against Prof. Clemant who faced a possibility of deportation for “violating the regime of registration.” She was found guilty. The judge proved to be lenient and limited her punishment to a fine that she had to pay. Bard advertises prominently the connection with the Faculty of Liberal Arts and even grants its diploma to students who graduate for it. Does Bard endorse such persecutions of faculty members for their views and activities? What has Bard done, if anything to protect Prof. Clemant? Please clarify the position of Bard with regard to academic freedom in institutions where Bard grants its diploma. Sincerely, Gennady Shkliarevsky Professor of History Emeritus