Public Defender Addresses Georgian National University (SEU) with Recommendation on Elimination of Discrimination
On September 7, 2023, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed the Georgian National University (SEU) LLC with a recommendation to eliminate direct discrimination in the form of the termination of the student's status due to expression of dissent.
On September 6, 2022, the status of the applicant, a student of the undergraduate law programme of the Faculty of Law of SEU, was terminated after the latter published a critical post on his personal Facebook page regarding the environment at the University. The Ethics Commission of the University evaluated his behavior as an action aimed at causing and inciting a personal or other kind of conflict and a dishonest attitude towards the name, prestige, symbolism and business reputation of the University.
The Public Defender assessed whether the content of the post publicly published by the applicant exceeded the scope of freedom of expression and whether there was actually a basis for applying a disciplinary measure. In addition, whether the principle of proportionality was respected when applying disciplinary responsibility.
The Public Defender concluded that the information posted by the applicant represented his personal opinion, the dissemination of which did not violate the standards of freedom of speech or expression. In addition, the University applied a disproportionately heavy measure of disciplinary responsibility, thereby grossly violated the applicant's right to education.
Based on the above, the Public Defender called on the rector of the Georgian National University (SEU) LLC to refrain from discriminating against students on the basis of dissent or on other grounds in the future and to conduct activities in accordance with the principle of equality.