Charles U. suing President Zeman for not appointing professors, ‘violating’ academic freedom

Charles University has filed administrative appeals against President Miloš Zeman for not appointing two academics as professors in a case going back several years.

Rector Tomáš Zima told reporters on Monday that the university believes the president has violated rules governing the appointment of professors and principles of academic freedom.

In the spring of 2015, President Zeman failed to appoint physicist Ivan Ošťádal and historian Jiří Fajt as professors at Charles University, referencing the candidates’ past.

In Mr Ošťádal’s case, he cited the physicist’s alleged ties to the communist –era secret police, the StB. In Mr Fajt’s case, it related to a compensation plan at the National Gallery.

President Zeman has also refused to appoint a professor candidate who teaches at the University of Economics in Prague. His spokesman said that academic Jan Eichler had worked in the propaganda unit of the Czechoslovak People’s Army.

A court overturned President Zeman’s decision regarding the three academics last year and said it was not the place of the Czech head of state to decide who would be a professor.