January 26, 2022

“A formal error”, regrets Jean-Michel Blanquer

A decision that never ceases to react. Three days after the temporary suspension of a professor, Klaus Kinzler, for “Defamatory remarks” by the management of Sciences Po Grenoble, the Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, called this decision of “formal error”, Wednesday December 22 on LCI. “The priority is not to sanction this gentleman”, he regretted.

In several interviews granted at the beginning of December to the site of the weekly Marianne, daily L’Opinion and on CNews, Mr. Kinzler described the IEP as an institute of “Political re-education”, accusing a “Hard core” of colleagues, followers according to him of theories « woke », to indoctrinate the students, and the direction of the IEP to let it go.

Also listen What exactly is “wokism”?

In reaction, the management suspended the professor for four months, because of these comments, which they believe “Defamatory”. If the director of the IEP, Sabine Saurugger, affirms that the “Teachers are free to express themselves”, she estimates in an interview with World that he is his “Duty to intervene when the reputation of the institution is targeted, when I hear of” a political re-education camp “and when the personnel of the establishment is personally attacked”. “In this context, I play my role of employer in front of a staff member”, she asserts. “I was stunned by this decision. For his part, the interested party replied to World : « The director forbade me to speak to the press, but I claim the right to express myself. “

Read the interview: Article reserved for our subscribers “Laurent Wauquiez has a wrong reading of the situation at Sciences Po Grenoble”

Following this decision, the president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Laurent Wauquiez (Les Républicains) had indicated on Twitter that it would suspend regional funding (around 100,000 euros per year excluding investments in projects) to the IEP – whose budget is 5 million euros. He intended to denounce in particular the “Long ideological and communitarian drift”, who comes from “Take a new step” with the suspension of the teacher. According to him, “A minority confiscated the debate” within the establishment, “Without management taking the measure of this worrying drift”. In response, Mme Saurugger regretted “The wrong reading” by M. Wauquiez. “Sciences Po Grenoble is not an establishment plagued by wokisme or the cancel culture, as we want to describe it “, she said. “I think we must, of course, react”, for his part estimated Mr. Blanquer, before however adding that “It is not always spectacular measures that must be taken”.

Accusation of “Islamophobia”

Since the end of 2020, Sciences Po Grenoble has indeed experienced a climate of tension. It all started when Mr Kinzler and a fellow historian had exchanged vehement emails about a day of debates, entitled “Racism, Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia”, in which they challenged this latter formulation and criticized Islam.

On March 4, the professor, along with another teacher, was the target of posters accusing him of“Islamophobia”, posted by students at the entrance to the school and relayed on social networks by unions. At the time, the management condemned “Very clearly” these posters, while believing that Mr. Kinzler’s way of speaking about Islam was “Extremely problematic”. At the end of November, sixteen of the seventeen students incriminated were released during a disciplinary procedure led by the University of Clermont-Auvergne.

On LCI, Wednesday, the Minister of Education again questioned the Wokism after this last episode: “It’s ideology instead of science”, he said. “I hear the director of Science Po (Sabine Saurugger) say that her house is not infested with wokisme and that what she wants is serenity; we want to agree with these two points ”, he said. The minister, however, recommended not to confuse ” victims “ and “Guilty” in that case. He himself considers that the culprits are “Those who made tags” aimed at the professor and that they could not ignore that they were provoking “Death threats on someone”. Faced with this situation, the Minister of Higher Education, Frédérique Vidal, asked the General Inspectorate to “Strengthen its monitoring” and the rectorate of “Stay in touch with the director to support the establishment”.

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