Established on September 23, 1669, Zagreb University remains the oldest and biggest university in Croatia to this day, but sadly, it has plenty of issues with the current University Chancellor Damir Boras.
As TCN wrote earlier in March of 2021, the Independent Union of Research and Higher Education Employees of Croatia ousted both Boras and Vice-Chancellor Miljenko Šimpraga. The causes of that were, as the Union said, various violations of academic community principles and the laws prescribed by both Croatian University documents and Zagreb University documents.
”On a number of occasions, Boras violated the academic rights and freedoms of employees of the Zagreb Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences as well as their right to elect the faculty head by rejecting the candidates recommended by the Faculty Council on three occasions,” said the Union at the time.
As Telegram’s reporter Dora Kršul, with a history of exposing foul play at the university wrote for Telegram earlier this week, the Zagreb University Student Council has its own dirt too.
Mihovil Mioković, the president of the Zagreb University Student Council (who is otherwise a student of the Faculty of Economics) and a party member of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) allegedly spent 700,000 kuna from the university budget on highly questionable things. Mioković, previously noted for defending Boras’s controversial decisions, published reports of the council’s spending over the last two years on social media.
”Two MacBook computers, a Lenovo ThinkPad computer, countless promo T-shirts, badges, Samsung Galaxy phones, a paper shredder, communication training for the council’s president (for Mioković himself), a Galko business bag and some loudspeakers are just some of the expenses the Student Council spent 700,000 kuna on. As visible from the documentation published by the council’s leader, signed receipts were sent to be paid to Tonći Lazibat, the finance Vice-Chancellor and potential candidate for the new Chancellor of Zagreb University,” wrote Telegram.
It’s worth adding that Chancellor Boras has already won two terms, so he can’t compete in the upcoming election in February 2022. Thus, the question of who will run for Boras’s replacement remains an open question. Mioković responded to Telegram’s questions stating that these are small and justified expenses.
”I think it’s much more effective to have everything seen in black and white, all of the finances, everything I signed, because these are literally small expenses, receipts totalling 100 to 150,000 kuna,” said Mioković to Telegram.
From expensive phones to the communication training Mioković didn’t even complete in the end, the biggest outrage was triggered by the Galko Business bag. Usually costing around 1,500 kuna, Mioković said he got it at a discount for 1000 kuna and added that he bought it because he didn’t receive a bag along with his newly purchased laptop.
”It’s a leather bag that will really serve to future generations of the student council once I return it along with the laptop. The rain can’t ruin it, it’s of good quality,” said Mioković in an attempt to justify the expenses. These justifications, however, weren’t really well received by the public.
From various student initiatives (the biggest one being 300=300, which mainly advocates for the equal qualification recognition of state and private universities) previously protested against the current university leaders to the student council itself.
As Večernji List reported, the unsigned thread on the Facebook page of the Zagreb University Student Council condemned Mioković’s actions and called for his resignation. Additionally, Mioković left HDZ and told N1 that he was “advised“ to do so.
”I was contacted by someone on a local level, who, in my opinion, doesn’t have any legitimacy nor authority. Then I contacted the HDZ youth president who advised me to leave the party and I said OK,” Mioković said briefly for N1. He added he feels his conscience is clear and that he plans to run again for the council president despite the lack of support from HDZ.
To top it all off, as Srednja writes, the Student Council of Zagreb university also celebrated 25 years of its work this week.
”Through all the years, the goal of student representatives is to protect the rights and promote interests of students,” wrote Srednja.hr. There can be no doubt, however, that these recent events added a bitter taste to the jubilee.
Read about Croatian politics and history since 1990 on our TC guide.
For more about education in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.