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Cracow. The Pedagogical University wants to change its name. Opposing councillors, the rector of the Jagiellonian University and the authorities of other universities

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The Krakow City Council is critical of the plans to change the name of the Pedagogical University to the University of Krakow. The change is to be sealed by the deputies, which is why in the resolution addressed to the Sejm, the city councilors appealed for opposition to this proposal, which – as we read in the resolution – “causes the appropriation of the tradition and centuries-old heritage of the Jagiellonian University”. A similar voice comes from the Conference of Rectors of Polish Universities.

On Wednesday, the Krakow City Council passed a resolution to deputies in which they appeal for opposition against plans to change the name of the Pedagogical University to the University of Krakow. This is the aftermath of the April resolution of the university’s senate, which gave a positive opinion on the proposal.

However, the change must be approved by the deputies, which is why the Krakow councilors addressed their “categorical objection” to the Sejm. The resolution passed by one vote – 17 councilors voted for it and 16 against it. Four people abstained from voting.

“Appropriation of tradition and heritage”

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The association of the proposed name with the oldest Polish university – also in Krakow – raises controversy.

Read also: The Pedagogical University wants to change its name, the rector of the Jagiellonian University promises to “make every effort to prevent this from happening”

“This name is historically associated with the Jagiellonian University, which has been called the Krakow Study University since 1400. The name ‘Uniwersytet Krakowski’ was obtained by the university in 1802 and used it until 1817, when it was renamed ‘Jagiellonian University’. Previous however, the name remained in use, including in the university seal, regularly given to appreciated people on various occasions” – we read in the adopted resolution.

The councilors believe that “the proposed change of the name of the Pedagogical University to the University of Krakow appropriates the tradition and centuries-old heritage of the Jagiellonian University. Moreover, it causes a problem with distinguishing the two Krakow universities on the international arena” – we read in the resolution.

Pedagogical University of KrakowTVN24

UP: the current name does not correspond to the educational offer

Adam Gliksman, head of the promotion department of the Pedagogical University, in an interview with tvn24.pl emphasizes that “Kraków City Council adopted this resolution, despite the fact that this is an area outside its competence”. He pointed out that the majority of councilors did not support the resolution – there were 20 votes against and abstentions, which is more than 16 votes for.

– The university has undergone a significant transformation in recent years. In 1946, when it was founded, its primary mission was to rebuild the teaching staff and train teachers. Today we have 21 scientific disciplines, and pedagogy is only one of them, so the current name may be harmful to other fields. You can study law, psychology, criminology or journalism with us. Hence the position of our community, expressed among others by the University Senate, the University Council and the Student Government, that the current name does not correspond to the university’s educational offer and scientific activity – explains Gliksman.

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The representative of the University of Life Sciences added that the application to change the name of the university was submitted to the Ministry of Education and Science in May. It is not known when the deputies will deal with it, but the university authorities hope that the matter will be closed this year.

Rectors against UP plans

However, a significant part of the scientific community also disagrees with the plans of the Pedagogical University. At the head of the choir of outraged is the rector of the Jagiellonian University – Professor Jacek Popiel, who argues that “there is no person in our reality” who would not associate this name with the oldest university in Poland.

“The resolution adopted by the Senate of this university (Pedagogical University – ed.) on April 24, 2023 is (…), in my opinion, an unauthorized attempt to appropriate the tradition and centuries-old heritage of the Jagiellonian University. At the same time, it appears to be grossly inconsistent with the principles of academic ethos” – wrote Prof. Popiel in a statement published in May.

The opposition of the rector of the Jagiellonian University was supported by rectors of Polish universities associated in the Conference of Rectors of Polish Universities. The president of KRUP, Professor Bogumiła Kaniewska, assessed the plans of the UP as “an attempt to appropriate the historical name of the oldest Polish university”.

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“We consider the takeover of the name historically and symbolically belonging to the Jagiellonian University to be contrary to good manners, misleading for future students of the university and harmful to its image. By adopting the historical name of the oldest Polish university, the UP gets rid of its own identity and exposes it to common mistakes, especially in international reception” – wrote the president of the conference in a statement.

“Tradition and legal heritage have been linking the name of the University of Krakow with the Jagiellonian University for centuries. Everyone knows this, especially in Krakow. The intention to rename the Pedagogical University into the University of Krakow violates both” – assessed Professor Stanisław Mazur, rector of the Cracow University of Economics on Twitter .

Main photo source: “Facts” TVN



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