or the first time since the imposition of martial law, Polish authorities today spelled out a planned purge of the nation's universities that would dismiss teachers on political as well as scholarly grounds.
Poland's minister of science, higher education and technology, Benon Miskiewicz, told journalists that a process of "verification" in the universities would soon begin that would look into the "ethical, moral and sociopolitical attitudes" of university professors.
He stressed that teachers of poor academic standing would be the first to be fired but said university personnel also could face dismissal because of political views. It would be "difficult," he said, for the authorities to tolerate a professor who is against the system.
"There is no place for them," he said.
Miskiewicz's comments marked the first time the government has acknowledged that the mechanism for a political purge of university staff is in place. Special "verification" questionnaires were sent out to the academic community after the imposition of martial law last Dec. 13, and a majority of recipients have now returned the forms, indicating that the review would soon be under way, according to university sources.
The issue of a purge campaign, or "ideological verification," has been the subject of numerous articles in the state-controlled press. But not since the dismissal of the rector of Warsaw University, Henryk Samsonowicz, in mid-April has the government so clearly signaled its wish to cleanse the nation's universities of backers of the independent trade union Solidarity and other activists.
Samsonowicz, a Solidarity supporter who was democratically elected under the liberal university code adopted during the Solidarity era, was said to have lost his position in part because he challenged authorities on their right to dismiss outspoken faculty members.
To date, only a purge of journalists has taken place in any organized campaign, but diplomatic observers have long expected the university community--a bastion of opinion makers and intellectual leaders--to be the next target.
Western diplomats in Warsaw said the official announcement today reflected government anxiety over the part university students have played in keeping activism alive in the six months since martial law was declared. The universities were centers of ferment during the 16 months of Solidarity activity and, because of the homogeneity of university life, have remained organized and politically involved.
Alluding to the criteria that the authorities will use to test a professor's worth, Miskiewicz referred to the teacher's role of "shaping youth" and said that, for example, professors who were "against the Polish constitution" would not provide the proper tutelage.
Miskiewicz, the rector of Poznan University until August 1981, said that a curriculum of orthodox Marxism-Leninism in the political sciences would again be compulsory for university students. These requirements were dropped last year under pressure from young Solidarity activists.