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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 December 19 - 2019 January 8  > Unfairly-fired art professors in Nagoya struggle in court for right to return to work
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2018 December 19 - 2019 January 8 [LABOR]

Unfairly-fired art professors in Nagoya struggle in court for right to return to work

December 20, 2018
A year ago, two union leaders who were fired from Nagoya University of the Arts (Nagoya City, Aichi Pref.) have been fighting the action in court, seeking the withdrawal of their dismissals.

Nakagawa Yutaka and Konishi Jiro, the president and a vice president of the university's teachers and staff union, were professors at the university's Department of Art.

To an Akahata reporter, several students said, "The first lecture was held by Prof. Konishi. The second and third ones were cancelled. From the forth one, a different teacher came. We asked the university's office what happened to our teacher, but they didn't tell us anything and the changes made in the syllabus confused us a lot."

The university was founded in 1970. According to the union, after the present chairman of the university's board of directors assumed the post in 2010, the board of directors started to tighten control over university operations. In 2015, the directors' board unilaterally revised the faculty council rules and regulations without discussing with the faulty council or university councilors. Also, by changing election rules for the university president, the board appointed the person who came in second and not the professor who received the largest number of votes. Then, the board bluntly ignored the request from the faulty council and the teachers' union asking for the explanation.

The union in September of last year filed a complaint with the Education Ministry, claiming that the university's board of directors belittles the faculty council and is seeking ministry intervention. It was around that time that the two professors who were also the union leaders were punitively fired from their jobs.

The board of directors cited as the reason for their dismissals that they had disturbed university operations and had distributed union newsletters in teachers' mailboxes. However, this had been accepted as a labor-management customary practice for more than 30 years.

The two, arguing against unlawful control over and interference in union activities, requested the Aichi Prefectural Labor Relations Commission in October last year for redress and filed a lawsuit with the Nagoya District Court in December last year to seek reinstatement.

Dozens of professors, researchers, and students at the university are supporting the two professors' court battle. Their struggle is not only to protect university autonomy but also to guarantee students' right to study.
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