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Wroclaw. Mateusz Morawiecki donated PLN 80 million to a science center named after his father Kornel

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The Rector of the University of Wrocław, without consulting the academic community, applied to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki for granting money for the construction of the Kornel Morawiecki Center for Physical and Chemical Research. Without much delay, the university received PLN 80 million for the implementation of the project.

The university, via its website, announced that on December 30, 2022, the prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki he gave to the University of Wrocław purposeful treasury bonds worth PLN 110 million, of which PLN 30 million is to be spent on the construction of the Center for Polish-Ukrainian Cooperation at the University of Wrocław and the seat of the Institute of Musicology.

The remaining PLN 80 million, according to the original content of the announcement, was to be transferred “for the commencement of design and construction works related to the implementation of the investment task ‘Construction of the Kornel Morawiecki Center for Physical and Chemical Research of the University of Wrocław at Koszarowa 3 in Wrocław'”.

In the next paragraph, the university states that “the center will consist of two adjacent buildings with a total usable area of ​​approx. 50,000 sq m, which will house the Institute of Experimental Physics, the Institute of Theoretical Physics, the Dean’s Office of the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy and the Faculty of Chemistry. the cost of the investment will be approximately PLN 800 million. The received funds in the amount of PLN 80 million will be used for own contribution in the European project, including the preparation of the construction project.

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A few days after the information was published and the media became interested (Gazeta Wyborcza was the first to write about it), after the TVN24 reporter spoke with the rector of the university, the first part of the announcement was changed. “The remaining bonds worth PLN 80 million will be allocated to the construction of the Center for Physical and Chemical Research, whose proposed patron is Kornel Morawiecki, which will be built at Koszarowa Street. The final decision on the name of the center will be made at the meeting of the Senate of the University of Wrocław” – we read now .

Politicizing universities or honoring an oppositionist?

It must have been quite a surprise for the university employees to grant a patron to the complex, which is not even in the design phase yet. Another thing is that such decisions are made collectively. In this case, things took a different turn.

On Monday, TVN24 reporter Olga Mildyn spoke with the rector of the University of Wrocław, Professor Robert Olkiewicz, and asked whether naming a university institution after the father of the current prime minister is not politicizing the university.

– A good, legitimate question and we’ll see what the discussion in collegiate bodies will be like. However, I would like to remind you that we currently have one center that has its patron, we have the Willy Brandt Center for German and European Studies – said prof. Olkiewicz.

– But his son is not currently the prime minister in Poland – replied Olga Mildyn.

– Well, yes, but do we think about whether Mr. Kornel Morawiecki is worthy of having his name as the center, or do we think about what family affinities are and who in the family performs certain functions. After all, in a few years the political situation may be completely different – admitted the rector of the University of Wrocław.

Mateusz Morawiecki and Kornel MorawieckiRadek Pietruszka/PAP

Zdrojewski: I would prefer science to be free of political patronage

Rector Olkiewicz admitted that although Kornel Morawiecki had strong ties with the Faculty of Physics – he was a graduate of the faculty and even defended his doctorate there – his proposal for the patron of the center was not so much his scientific achievements, but opposition activities.

In the 1980s, Kornel Morawiecki founded Fighting Solidarity, an underground anti-communist underground organization. Historians argue about its role in overthrowing the past system. The fact is that the son of a former MP and today’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki attaches great importance to ensuring that his father is remembered as the leading oppositionist of those times.

We asked the former minister of culture and the former mayor of Wrocław what they think about such measures. – There is no shortage of candidates for patrons, including those who were Nobel Prize winners or were very closely associated with the Institute of Physics, the Institute of Chemistry of the University of Wrocław. Kornel Morawiecki is certainly not such a character. I would prefer science to be free of political and party patronage, says Bogdan Zdrojewski, today a senator from the Civic Coalition.

Other potential candidates for the patron of the center include: eminent physicists, Nobel Prize winners Max Born and Otto Stern.

Main photo source: Radek Pietruszka/PAP

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