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PM calls gives tasks to Education & Interior ministers over Tbilisi State University

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, March 17
After the situation became even more strained in Tbilisi State University, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili released a statement asking the Interior Ministry to improve security measures at the university and the Education Minister to organize a meeting with the students and academic staff.

According to Kvirikashvili, the government is obliged to do its best to bring normal functions back to the university. He called on the students - who are holding protest rallies - to limit their actions to legal protests.

“I call on our students to act reasonably in order for the processes to develop peacefully,’ he said.

In response to the PM’s statement, the Ministry of Education has addressed TSU's administration to select representatives of all involved groups in order to hold a meeting with them.

The meeting held on March 15, was attended by members of the university administration, the TSU rector and members of Students Government, the so-called Tvitmmartveloba, who are holding protest rallies demanding the resignation of rector Vladimer Papava.

However, another group of students calling themselves Auditorium 115, are openly opposing the Tvitmmartveloba and did not attend the meeting. They say that their members are not allowed to enter the main building of TSU, while the Students Government members freely move into the building without any hindrance or restrictions.

The other demands of Auditorium 115 are the reorganization of the Students Government and launching an investigation into the presence of intelligence agents, known as ODRs, at TSU.

According to the Education Minister Tamar Sanikidze, the problem can be solved only through the participation of all sides.

“The situation cannot continue this way. Within its autonomy the university failed to provide even elementary security measures. We will do our best to improve the situation,” Sanikidze stated.

TSU rector Vladimer Papava welcomes the Prime Minister's statement and spoke about the need to defuse the situation.

“The main task is to solve this problem peacefully, which is necessary for the university and the country as well,” said Papava and noted that he is not going to resign.

Most lecturers express solidarity with the rector, saying his resignation will cause destabilization in the university. Some of them even went on a hunger strike.

According to the group of TSU professors, they have formed an initiative group which will hold a meeting and find ways to stabilize the situation.

“The university does not belong only to the students; it belongs to the professors too. We think that the rector should not resign,” stated a member of the initiative group, Professor Diana Dzidziguri.