Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Vaccination scandal: Abuse of power and autonomy of the university

President of Medical University of Warsaw

The vaccination scandal is not going away. In fact, it’s getting deeper and turns into severe political conflict. In the beginning, we thought that it was only around 18 celebrities and politicians who took advantage of their status to get vaccinated out of the waiting line. We now know that it was 200 people out of 450 vaccinated in that institution. None of those 200 have anything to do with the medical profession. They were falsely registered as non-medical staff of the Medical University of Warsaw.

Yesterday, we learned that the university’s president is refusing to step down, citing the school’s constitutional autonomy in Poland.

“The Minister of Health, Adam Niedzielski, in his speech, stated that I should resign, which in his opinion would be proof of “the ability to show civil courage.” Feeling responsible for the university’s reform and showing my civil courage, I refuse to meet the Minister of Health’s expectations, who has set out to remove me from this post as his goal,‘ wrote Prof. Gaciong.

He also reminded everyone that according to the Act of 20 July 2018 - Law on Higher Education and Science, one of the fundamental rights of Polish universities resulting from Article 70 of the Polish Constitution is their autonomy.

The Minister of Health replied:

An attempt to give this situation a political context and reduce it to a fight with the Minister of Health is a desperate defense of the position. The Rector is responsible not to me but students, the academic community, and people waiting for vaccination. There was no civil courage.

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