Czech student resigns from academic senate after his racist past is revealed
Alec Mindák, a student at the Education Faculty of the public University of Jan Evangelista Purkyně (UJEP) in Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic, is in charge of the faculty's projects abroad. He also administers its social media accounts.
As of today Mindák was anticipating taking another small step in his career after being elected a member of the academic senate for the entire university. Four days after his election last month, however, he resigned.
Mindák's previously-expressed racist attitudes had begun to be publicly analyzed. One such Facebook post from 2018 read as follows: "After a long time away I have returned to my beloved Aussig [Translator's Note: the German name for Ústí nad Labem] once again for target practice! Next time we'll try moving from the Halda neighborhood to [the Romani quarter] Předlice, ever since the Allied bombardment of Ústí in 1945 nobody has repaired the damage there yet, a perfect environment... ultra retro. Only the hordes there aren't Russians anymore, they're from a different ethnicity."
The post appeared on a Facebook profile called "Siegfried Aus Aussig" at the end of October 2018. That profile belongs to Mindák, and editors with the HlídacíPes.org website reproduced its posts in their coverage of him (along with the original spelling errors).
The 2018 post was not the only example of something problematic on the "Siegfried Aus Aussig" profile. Five years ago a post there commented on an article from the daily Mostecký deník with a headline reading "City of Most has another election scandal. All the members of Most Residents for Most have disappeared from the Chánov housing estate", by posting: "When I read the cigáni had disappeared, I almost died of joy, but then when I read this through to the end it turned out not to be the case ...".
Mindák is not denying his "authorship" of the "Siegfreid Aus Aussig" profile. He is acknowledging it and claims it is part of what he calls "youthful flippancy".
University colleagues unfazed by a racist past
The profile is no longer to be found on Facebook today. It has since been renamed and the problematic status updates have been deleted.
Mindák began to be "politically" active at the university. During the December 2019 elections to the Academic Senate of UJEP he ran for a seat on the student chamber of the Education Faculty, where he is enrolled.
A couple of days ahead of the elections on 5 December 2019, his controversial online activities began to be publicly discussed. An educator at the university, German Studies scholar Jan Kvapil, published screenshots of Mindák's Facebook posts to his own Facebook profile.
The student responded by acknowledging that he had a "not absolutely exemplary history" behind him, claimed that he no longer wanted to "continue along those lines", but also said he was not willing to allow himself to be attacked for what he considered to be no reason. "If you continue this, unfortunately I will be forced to address all of this legally according to the relevant statutes," he wrote to Kvapil.
Despite the fact that his past became known to his university colleagues, Mindák succeeded in being elected to the student chamber. He earned 44 votes (one more than the candidate who came in second) and became a senator of the university on behalf of the Faculty.
Resignation after criticism
Today, however, all that has changed. After the criticism of him continued, Mindák ultimately decided not to take up the academic senate post.
Responding to questions posed to him by the investigative website HlídacíPes.org, he wrote that his previous activities were incompatible with the post of senator at the university. "The important word in your question is 'past'. Actually, in my youthful flippancy I made many errors and unreasonable decisions (and in this case, I shared them) and I decidedly agree from my perspective today. I regret this and I have already apologized for it more than once. I don't have a time machine in my closet somewhere, so unfortunately I cannot change what has happened and I am facing up to my mistakes, but to be on the academic senate means above all to change the future of the entire Faculty (and university) for the better," he wrote.
Mindák resigned from his post as senator at the university on 9 December, apparently so as to not compromise the Education Faculty. He was to have been replaced by the second-place student candidate, Denis Schmidt.
Chancellor Jana Kasaničová confirmed the resignation to HlídacíPes.org. "According to the information available to the UJEP leadership, Alec Mindák has resigned from the post of senator on the Academic Senate of UJEP," she wrote, adding that university leadership considers the reason for his resignation to be his personal affair.
This article was written for the Institute for Independent Journalism in the Czech Republic, an independent, nonprofit organization and registered institute involved in publishing information, journalism and news reporting. Its analyses, articles and data outputs are offered to all equally for use under certain conditions.
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