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Standing in solidarity with their values, Coimbra Group members vote to revoke the membership of St Petersburg University

24 May 2023

On 26 April 2023, an Extraordinary General Assembly of the Coimbra Group (CG) Universities has taken decision on the membership status of St Petersburg State University (SPbU). In March 2022 SPbU’s membership had been suspended after the Rector of SPbU co-signed a public statement by the Russian Union of Rectors backing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and going explicitly against the values that CG stands for.

It had been agreed upon that a revocation of membership would be decided on in April 2023. CG Rectors had discussed the membership status of SPbU at the CG Annual Conference in Padua in June 2022, giving the mandate to the Executive Board to monitor any further developments.

After introductory words by the CG Executive Board Chair and a discussion among CG members, the question of the SPbU membership was put to the vote. The decision of the Extraordinary General Assembly was to revoke the membership of SPbU on the grounds that the institution no longer acts in accordance with the values of the Coimbra Group. CG Universities adhere to values, which encompass – among others – academic independence and freedom and institutional autonomy.

The decision follows many months of consideration and attempts by CG to get an adequate clarification from SPbU on its position. The decision only targets the institution, not its academics and students. Existing or future bilateral cooperation schemes between individual CG members and SPbU remain outside the scope of this decision, and so does CG commitment to support international academic and cultural ties no matter the geopolitical circumstances.

CG universities reiterate their call for peace.