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Book theft reveals discord at TSU

By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, August 10
Rector of Tbilisi State University, Gia Khubua presented documentation proving his innocence of the book stealing allegation at a special briefing on August 9. Stressing he had been out of country for the last week, Khubua denied the accusation that he was involved in the theft of books from the university library. “Rumours that the university administration staff is engaged in the book business is a total nonsense. The university had been informing law enforcers about the loss of not only books but also of material assets, asking for the cases to be investigated,” Khubua said stressing that such issues put the reputation of the university under threat.

Khubua encouraged all interested parties to investigate the university activities and ensure the staff has nothing to hide. Accusing the media sources of releasing unchecked materials, the TSU rector said these activities are aimed against the university’s development. “Let any law enforcer check the situation in the university but all procedures concerning financial and administrative issues have been discussed within the university bodies and confirmed by the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia. The university is a treasure created by several generations which shouldn’t be ruined by the well-organized discrimination of the media,” said Khubua thanking President Mikheil Saakashvili for his support in making the university more autonomous than ever.

The opinion of TSU lecturers is divided. Some of the university staff expressed their discontent regarding the uneven situation between the salaries of lecturers with A and B categories while others demanded to meet President Saakashvili to provide him with truthful information concerning the situation in the university.

Claiming his salary is the same as each university professor, Khubua said proudly that this amount is the same as that of East European professors but still the TSU lecturers are complaining. “The distribution of wages has been so alarming,” one of the TSU lecturers shared with the media, “that the difference is somehow really annoying,” he explained. Denying the rumours about giving patronage to particular figures, Khubua stressed the university authorities are critical towards each staff member. “The general inspection of the Ministry of Education and Science has suspended the authority of Tamar Nemsitsveridze, who was responsible for the TSU library. Not only Nemsitsveridze but no-one at all is being taken under my patronage. We were unable to elect the necessary staff for the library through a contest thus Nemsitsveridze became temporary responsible for the facility,” Khubua stated.

Calling the situation “totally absurd,” the academic council of TSU decided to talk to the President about the university issues. “All the accusations should have been answered,” Marika Lortkipanidze, TSU academic told the media. According to the TSU administration, Gia Khubua receives GEL 3000 a month as a full-time professor in the Law faculty and GEL 4300 as the elected Head of TSU which is in accordance with the academic and administrative codes as confirmed by the Ministry of Education and Science.

“Blame against Khubua can’t be taken as accusations against the university. Rectors come and go…Nothing has ever started with their appointment or withdrawal,” the university staff member stated adding that Khubua hadn’t been included in the additional salary list for the staff but he was only appointed his portion after all the other staff members had been provided with their shares.

TSU Academic Council released a statement asking for a meeting with the President of Georgia. The statement emphasised that the humiliating issues screened and printed in media during August had insulted TSU dignity. “Absolutely senseless slanderous accusations against the first Georgian university are deterring the further development of the Georgian educational system. TSU is always ready to cooperate with the law enforcement bodies and the mass media to find any kind of violation within the university. We hope that these acts of discrimination against TSU will cease and the media will provide the public with the truth about the university,” red the statement.

The Messenger was unable to reach representatives of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia (MES) which is investigating the issue of the lost valuable books from the university library, but according to preliminary information, MES internal auditors have been studying the financial situation of TSU and they will release their verdict in a fortnight.