2019-09-19 18:18:00

Urals Economics University not to expel student over contacts with LGBT

Yekaterinburg, September 19, Interfax - A student of the Urals State Economics University who has been observed having contacts with LGBT persons will not be expelled from the university, the Sverdlovsk Region's Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Merzlyakova told Interfax.

"We have talked to the rector and we agreed that no one will expel the student," Merzlyakova said.

Merzlyakova also said Urals State Economics University Rector Yakov Silin had told her increased attention was given to the student because he lost his parents early in life.

"On the one hand, I approved their [the university administration's] guidance of the young man, who has an apartment, regarding his living conditions. But everything that has to do with privacy, of course, goes beyond these limits," Merzlyakova said.

The Urals State Economics University press service told Interfax that students' social networks are in fact monitored, but only those accounts on which affiliation with the university is stated.

"The purpose of monitoring is to prevent propaganda among students of various forms of violence, extremism, the fanning of racial and religious feud, suicide, bullying, and the dissemination and use of narcotics substances," the press service said.

Other students asked for the student's page on a social network to checked, the press service said.

"His personal account on a social network did contain a link to the LGBT community, which is an instance of public propaganda," the press service said.

The prorector of the university met with the student, but his expulsion was not discussed.

"The student was told that the university administration has no intention of interfering in his private life, but said the propaganda of non-traditional relationships and linking that to the university and the entire student body of the university was unacceptable," it said.

Merzlyakova told reporters the situation should be discussed not only with the administration of the university and the student but also with the council of rectors of Sverdlovsk universities.

"Education is one thing, but a person's private life is a totally different matter. And our region, which is open to the global community and regularly hosts large-scale international events, has never been involved in such stories, and they are not needed in the future, either," she said.

The local media earlier reported that the Urals State Economics University was going to expel a student for his activities in LGBT groups on social networks. According to the media, the university learned of this while monitoring students' social networks.

Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov would not comment on the story and said he "does not see any reputational risks" in the case of this situation going to the European Court of Human Rights.

"We don't know about this story, we don't have information, we don't see any reputational risks," Peskov told reporters. Peskov recommended that the media "address the university or the Education Ministry directly regarding this issue."