Students come out in defense of academic freedoms

Some 200 young people staged a protest happening outside Prague Castle in defense of academic freedoms on Thursday in the wake of a scandal over the president’s refusal to name a respected Catholic intellectual professor. Although the President Zeman backed down on Wednesday, signing Mr. Putna’s decree, and saying he no longer wanted the prerogative to appoint professors, there is still simmering anger over the incident among students who feel that academic freedoms have been violated and fear they may be again at any time in the future. Meanwhile, rectors are not happy with the proposal that in future professorial decrees would be signed by the education minister, saying that the president’s signature gave the decree greater weight and reflected the high esteem associated with the title.