Srbijanka Turajlić

Faculty of Electrical Engineering

Belgrade

Case Study

UDK: 378

Received: 19.01.1999

IMPLEMENTATION of THE University Act at the Faculty of Electrical EnGineering in Belgrade

Half a century of existence of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering (FEE) in Belgrade is marked by achievements such as few faculties in Yugoslavia could boast of. The old socialist self-management system enabled the employees of the faculty to operate without much control of the state (but also without matching responsibility) and to create their own, autonomous system for work organization and remuneration. Scientific activities and instructions developed harmoniously and in line with the highest world standards, while a large number of projects enabled the Faculty to become an institution of substantial economic strength, with excellent technical equipment, attractive to the best experts in the country. It is, therefore, small wonder that in the early ’90s this Faculty ranked 15th on the world list of faculties of electrical engineering. There is not one leading electrical engineering faculty in the world where at least one graduate of the Belgrade FEE has not acquired a doctoral degree. Many of these experts are today professors at foreign universities, while three of them who started their professorial careers in the U.S.A. during the past 15 years obtained the prestigious »Young Presidential Award«, bestowed by the US President in person on young researchers with the brightest prospects.

The era of the »rule« of Dean Teodosić on the Faculty of Electrical Engineering is not over yet and that is why it is difficult to write an epilogue of the events described on previous pages. However, it is highly likely that the spiral of violence will not be stopped for quite some time. Throughout the summer and autumn different financial inspections toured the Faculty and their findings are probably kept on stand-by to be used at an appropriate moment. Anyway, the Dean keeps threatening with criminal charges a whole series of teachers and associates, even those who did sign employment contracts.

A few lecturers who signed employment contracts were left without their subjects in the midst of the semester because the Dean arbitrarily decided to assign them to someone else, claiming that he was entitled by the Act to decide on the plan of work assignments. Although it does not say that this plan may not be changed on daily basis, it is obvious that in this case the spirit of the Act has been violated. And there is no one with competence to decide on that.

The eight lecturers who made an agreement with Minister Ivković and the Dean, and, instead of the employment contract signed the above-mentioned statements, have not been restored to instructions. The Dean says that in the coming semester he may give them some subjects, but not what they lectured on before. No one feels responsible for defaulting on the agreement.

Three colleagues who did not sign a thing, assistant professor in training Predrag Tepavčević, professional adviser Vladana Likar-Smiljanić and professor Srbijanka Turajlić are still barred from the building housing the laboratories and equipment they would normally use for their work. No one thinks that they should be provided normal operating conditions bearing in mind that they are still regularly employed.

The elite faculty of the University of Belgrade passed a whole semester with disrupted lectures and replacements of teachers. In the case of certain subjects there were no lectures at all. Despite all this the January exams were held. This fact, however, proved equally unperturbing for the leadership, the employees, the students and even their parents.

A large number of young colleagues announced their departure from the Faculty during the summer semester. Of the eight system-programmers permanently engaged in the FEE Computer Center, the oldest and best-known center at the University, only two are still left. This personnel drain has failed to cause anyone’s concern.

By adopting the University Act the Serbian government undertook to control the faculties. If it is correct that »to control means choosing« than the events so far seem to indicate that the Serbian government chose to ruin the Faculty. It also seems that the staff of the Faculty chose not to oppose this act of violence, deluding themselves that they will thus avoid the enforcement of the law in their own chambers. The future will show whose choice was the wrong one.