Rector of Latvian Academy of Music resigns over sexual harassment scandal

  • 2024-04-15
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Guntars Pranis, Rector of the Jazeps Vitols Latvian Academy of Music (JVLMA), has announced his resignation, saying that his staying in office would encumber the academy's work after the recent sexual harassment scandal.

As reported, the State Police is conducting a criminal investigation into alleged sexual harassment of female students by JVLMA academic staff.

The JVLMA Council has expressed no-confidence in the academy's rector Guntars Pranis and called for him to resign amid the allegations of sexual harassment of female students by the JVLMA's academic staff, but Pranis initially refused to stand down.

Culture Minister Agnese Logina (Progressives) also joined the calls for Pranis to resign.

Pranis believes that the harassment scandal at the academy has been used to get rid of him on the pretext of concern for female students' wellbeing and by wrongfully accusing him of negligent inaction. Pranis claims that he and his team took urgent measures to address the situation, but could never imagined that he might become a target of "such injustice and vilification".

"We have reached an impasse! I understand that in these circumstances my remaining in office would only make the work of the Academy more difficult, because it is impossible to continue working with the Council, which although found to have acted unlawfully, expects me to be accountable for what I do not know, because up to this moment I have not been informed what I have failed to do and what I could have done. It will be impossible to defend the interests of the academy before the Culture Ministry, which since March 11 has been saying that my resignation would "relieve tensions" and now cynically accuses me of fighting against the illegal actions of the Council," says Pranis.

As reported, the scandal over the alleged sexual harassment of female students at the Latvian Academy of Music broke out in March after LTV's Kultursoks (Culture Shock) program obtained testimonies of seven female JVLMA students about sexual harassment by certain academic staff members.

According to information available on the JVLMA website, associate professor Maris Kupcs has since been removed as head of the JVLMA Department of Early Music. His name has been mentioned in relations with the allegations of sexual harassment at the academy. Associate professor Rolands Kronlaks, meanwhile, has lost his job as head of the JVLMA Department of Music Technology.