Czech President Draws Fire for Refusing to Appoint Professor

President Miloš Zeman of the Czech Republic is drawing criticism for refusing to grant one of his critics a university professorship, after hinting that he objected to the scholar’s gay-rights activism. Martin C. Putna, a literary historian at Charles University, in Prague, supported Mr. Zeman’s rival in the January presidential election. According to Radio Prague, Mr. Zeman said he respected Mr. Putna’s sexual orientation but took issue with a sign Mr. Putna carried in a 2011 gay-pride parade. Czech presidents customarily appoint the country’s professors after they are nominated by their universities, in a process that is usually a formality.

Charles University rector Vaclav Hampl was to meet with Zeman on Wednesday. Unless a “really serious moral wrongdoing” is behind Zeman’s refusal to appoint Putna, Hampl said, his action would constitute “nothing other than an absolutely unacceptable political interference.”

The government has already approved a slate of 65 candidates to be appointed at a ceremony on June 11, the Education Ministry said. Zeman’s predecessor, conservative Vaclav Klaus named more than 1,500 professors and rejected not a single one.

Read more at:

Return to Top