Saturday, March 21, 2009

Besides the upcoming election for mayor of Yerevan, one of the most talked about happenings here is several Yerevan State University students putting poster-size pictures of professors they say take bribes alongside the sidewalk leading to the Opera building on Mashtots Boulevard. Professors and others protested, and a journalist was beaten following up on the story at the nearby Brusov Institute of Foreign Languages.

Interesting was the discussion at our home between a Yerevan State University professor and a lecturer at the French University: “What your students did was preposterous,” the French University lecturer said. “They had no right, without some sort of written proof, to put those pictures up in a public place like that.” The YSU professor, not amused, said they had every right, that the accused professors were the best known for taking bribes (known here as kasharaker). “I don’t take bribes,” she said. “I’m in the minority. Even if there was a better way of approaching the situation, at least the students did something.”

The French University lecturer then said, “Our students are intelligent. They don’t give bribes,” to which the YSU professor answered, “If they transferred to our university, they’d give bribes, just like the rest do.”

The professor then told about a statement by the editor of Aravot newspaper, in which the editor said that instead of complaining about bribery, the students should study harder, so that they wouldn’t have to give bribes to get good grades. “As if,” she said, “the students are all lazy and use bribes as a way out. The editor failed to say that there are many professors who expect and even demand bribes, and don’t give passing grades unless they’re paid for. The editor knows that, as does everybody else. So much for him being an independent journalist.”

No comments: