Former Chairman of the Supreme Council of Belarus and opposition activist Stanislau Shushkevich has declined to meet with European Humanities University students. Shushkevich had been invited by EHU's Student Union (student government).
"Initially Mr. Shushkevich agreed that he would meet with us on February 10 to discuss his critique of EHU, which he voiced just before Christmas last year," said Maksim Milto, president of EHU's Student Union. "However, when I contacted him to confirm our meeting this week, he began to insist that he will only speak at the invitation of EHU's administration."
In an interview published in the daily Lietuvos Rytas on December 19, 2011, Shushkevich claimed that the Vilnius-based Belarusian university-in-exile was losing its Belarusian identity and undermining the Belarusian identity of its students, most of whom are from Belarus.
"We regret that Mr. Shushkevich declined [the students'] invitation to meet. Our students invited Mr. Shushkevich on their own initiative to a constructive on-campus dialog about issues he has raised before," said Darius Udrys, EHU's vice-rector for development and international relations.
Udrys says EHU's administration had been invited to the meeting as well and that he had personally planned to participate.
Udrys notes that EHU is a student-centered university that strongly supports student-led initiatives.
"Part of what we are trying to convey to students is the importance of civic engagement. We regret the message his decision sends to our students."
EHU Students’ Union