Yuriy Dumanskyi, the rector of the Donetsk National Medical University of Maxim Gorky (DonNMU), said that he would not submit himself or his university to the control of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) terrorist organization.
Dumanskyi explained his position in a statement addressed to colleagues and students and posted on the university’s official website, reports Espreso TV, October 23.
“At this difficult time when the fate not only of the Donetsk National Medical University of Maxim Gorky is being determined but of the entire country, I decided to address you as the legitimately elected rector and to express my personal thoughts on the situation of our ALMA MATER, to which I have devoted more than 30 years of my professional life,” he wrote.
His statement was in response to an earlier decision by the DonNMU Administration to appeal to President Poroshenko and Ukraine’s Minister of Health to allow the university to retain its current de facto and de jure status in Donetsk, a position Dumanskyi found unacceptable.
Ukrainian government officials had encouraged the universities located on territories not controlled by Ukraine to move outside the ATO (Anti-Terrorist Operation) zone in order to continue to receive government funding and be able to issue diplomas recognized in Ukraine.
Dumanskyi said he had already received relocation proposals in Mariupol and Kramatorsk and that he was certain that despite the difficulties of relocation many individuals were ready to take on the hard work required.
“As a rector, I cannot accept the fact that our university will be subordinated to the DNR authorities, will receive salaries from them and will issue unrecognized diplomas,” he explained. ” I also want to point out that this activity by relevant DNR authorities is already being actively pursued. Our official stamp has been removed as well as our statutory documents. We also have been ordered to open new accounting records by October 30, and to immediately draw up new legal documents,” he said.
Dumanskyi stated that he was most concerned about the “future of our students and the fate of our employees at one of the best universities in Ukraine.” He added that the university currently has about 1500-1700 students out of nearly 6,000 and that a number of key department heads and employees have already left and more are leaving.
Most of all, the rector stressed that he is a citizen of Ukraine.
“I will never compromise with my conscience. I am and I will always be a citizen of Ukraine. In this situation each one present in this hall must decide his own fate– who he is today and how he sees himself in the future,” he said.
The university’s future will be discussed at a meeting of university employees scheduled for Friday, October 24.