Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   21 January

YSU rector urges protesting students to end hunger strike

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 14, ARMENPRESS. Rector of the Yerevan State University Aram Simonyan calls on the students who declared hunger strike to refrain from further illegal developments of the process.

ARMENPRESS talked with Mr. Simonyan on the actions of a group of students and developments.

Mr. Simonyan, according to media reports five students declared hunger strike with an indefinite time period regarding their demands against the changes of the deferment right. We found out that the hunger strike has been declared in a lecture hall of physics of the YSU. Could you comment on this information?

Unfortunately, the students put extreme methods above civilized methods of expressing their demands. Today in the morning, they locked themselves in a lecture room of physics of the YSU and are declaring that they will be on hunger strike as long as their demands regarding the changes in the deferment right are met. This resulted in disrupting the entire academic process of the faculty and normal work process, which is unacceptable.

- Has the YSU administration spoken with the students, and what solution do you see in this situation?

- Frankly speaking I see simple elements of blackmail in this, aimed at the society and specifically the YSU. By realizing that their calls for a class strike don’t provide enough supporters, the students chose this method. Declaring hunger strike is their right, however doing so by locking up in the classroom of an educational institution, and rallying on behalf of violating the constitutional right to education of thousands of students, I believe is unacceptable. The YSU is a facility of public significance, it highly appreciates the value of speech freedom and multiple opinions, however this kind of conduct is denied. Taking this opportunity I would like to address the students with a call to refrain from further illegal developments of this process, to exit the classroom as soon as possible and to allow restoring the normal process of the university. Students should choose the types of expressing demands within the framework of the law.

- What do you think, will the students accept your urge at this moment?

- Taking into account that we are dealing with normal, intellectual people, I am sure they will listen to my call. In addition, they will take into account that after working hours, the buildings of the YSU are under the protection of the security service, and according to internal rules of the university, entering the YSU buildings is prohibited at those hours.

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