July 7, 2022

Sciences Po Grenoble denounces a “political” decision after the suspension of funding by Laurent Wauquiez

The management of Sciences Po Grenoble regretted, Tuesday, December 21, the decision ” Politics “ the president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Laurent Wauquiez, to suspend community funding for schools, against the backdrop of a debate on freedom of expression. The case sparked a cascade of positions on Tuesday, from Marine Le Pen to Eric Zemmour, via Valérie Pécresse.

The financial sanction decision came after an internal decree targeting Klaus Kinzler, a German teacher who had been accused of“Islamophobia” at the beginning of the year: he was suspended on Monday from his functions by the management of Sciences Po Grenoble, which accuses him of having made “defamatory remarks” since.

Qualifying Mr Wauquiez’s decision as « regrettable », the direction of the Institute of Political Studies (IEP) specifies in a press release that “The financial support of the region (…) does not consist of grants but, essentially, of awarding scholarships to students ”.

Tribune : Article reserved for our subscribers The case of professors accused of Islamophobia “is an illustration of the political and economic pressures exerted on the university”

“Inane accusations without any foundation”

“This decision seems, moreover, motivated by a political motive, more than by the reality of the situation within the institution”, adds the text by calling on the president of the region to “To reconsider its decision in the interest of the students”. “The Grenoble-UGA IEP is now the subject of inane accusations of ideological and communitarian drift”, from wokisme or even cancel culture », what does not “No basis or reality in its operation”, the statement continued.

The day before, in a message posted on Twitter, the president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, Laurent Wauquiez, let it be known that he would suspend regional funding – around 100,000 euros per year excluding investments on projects – to the Grenoble IEP, due to 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”.

On Monday, Mr. Kinzler was suspended from his duties for four months, the director of the IEP Sabine Saurugger accusing him of “Defamatory remarks” in interviews given at the beginning of December to the site of the weekly Marianne, daily L’Opinion and the CNews channel. He has, according to the director, “Seriously ignored several obligations”, especially in terms of “Professional discretion”. “It is necessary to seize the disciplinary council”, she adds in the decree which suspends him for four months.

In his interviews, the teacher 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.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Jean-François Bayart: “Whether the term likes it or not, there is indeed a state Islamophobia in France”

“Mr. Wauquiez’s extremist drifts”

Accusations repeated in chorus by various right-wing and far-right officials since Monday on social networks. Like Valérie Pécresse, the Republican candidate for the presidential election, who asked the Minister of Higher Education, Frédérique Vidal, to “Initiate an inspection mission on the situation and make the findings public”, saying to himself in a tweet, “Concerned that freedom of expression is no longer guaranteed at the Grenoble IEP”. The General Inspectorate of Education, Sport and Research (Igésr) has already issued a report in May on the beginnings of the affair. It establishes that a “disproportionate conflict” resulted from errors of appreciation, clumsiness, and mistakes on the part of all the actors of the Institute of Political Studies.

Olivier Vial, the president of the right-wing student union Union Nationale Interuniversitaire (UNI) welcomed the suspension of funding “Following the communitarian abuses of the establishment”. “Support for Klaus Kinzler (…) strange feeling that we condemn the wrong person ”, tweeted Eric Ciotti, the finalist of the LR congress.

On the far right, the sanction of Mr. Wauquiez was hailed on Twitter of a « Bravo ! » by Marine Le Pen, the National Assembly candidate for the presidential election. “Laurent Wauquiez understood perfectly how to cut short the infiltration of our grandes écoles by Islamo-leftism: by starting by shutting off the tap of public funding”, has, meanwhile, written the candidate Eric Zemmour.

The group of regional elected officials Les Ecologistes, on the contrary, said “Worried about the extremist drifts of Mr. Wauquiez”, accusing him in a press release from “Playing inquisitors with the encouragement of Eric Zemmour”. “Laurent Wauquiez is not disturbed when it comes to financing the campus project of the Catholic University of Lyon”, also tackled Guillaume Gontard, environmental senator from Isère. “A certain conception of the Republic, partisan and not secular”, he also pointed out.

“The unilateral decision, like the authoritarian method of the president of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region”, were criticized by the group of elected regional Socialists, ecologists and democrats. “Violence, arbitrariness and political considerations have nothing to do in a regional policy for higher education, research and student life”, they said in a press release, before adding:

“We call for a rapid and proportionate reaction from the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, which must uphold the principles of our institutions, the independence of the governing bodies of our grandes écoles, but also the interest and reputation of our establishments. “

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The case arose in late 2020, when Mr Kinzler and a fellow historian exchanged vehement emails about a day of debates, titled “Racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia”, by contesting this formulation and criticizing 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 institute 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”.

In its press release Tuesday, management believes it has held ” without reservation “ alongside the two accused professors and having taken “The necessary measures” for their safety.

The World with AFP