ELTE faculty dean dismissed for sexual misconduct

November 10, 2017

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Elekes Andor

The Eötvös Loránd University’s (ELTE) Central Ethical Committee has found the former dean of the Faculty of Primary and Pre-School Education (Tanító- és Óvóképző Kar) György Mikonya guilty of abuse of power, reports 24.hu. The university previously did not disclose the name of the professor because he had the right to legal remedy, but Mikonya did not avail himself of this possibility.

An employee of the Dean’s Office and former subordinate to Mikonya reported the abuse, and the university’s Central Ethical Committee began investigating the case. Based on its findings, the Ethical Committee found Mikonya guilty of abusing his “real or presumed position of power”, violating the dignity of the complainant, and breaching the requirement for equal treatment. Furthermore, Mikonya damaged the institution’s reputation, according to the report.

“The continuous and unacceptable physical approaches, the verbal and physical expressions of a sexual nature (without being explicitly violent) could have generated fear and shame in the complainant,” explained the university’s initial statement, which left the perpetrator unnamed. “The complainant’s place in the workplace hierarchy, her subordinate position towards the accused and her loyalty towards her workplace hindered her in effectively acting against the accused, which the accused exploited.”

Meanwhile, anonymous blog posts were spreading about sexual harassment at the university, but neither the alleged perpetrator nor the details were known or confirmed.

Several university employees and teachers told their stories to hvg.hu. They were afraid to reveal their names because of the anonymous perpetrator’s powerful position, but talked about years of inappropriate touching and approaches. It was also stated that the perpetrator expressed his power in a threatening way towards them. When Mikonya’s name disappeared from the faculty’s website and hvg.hu asked students there about him directly, one said: “The dean doesn’t primarily target the students ” An anonymous teacher cried when asked about the abuse, and said: “This is not abuse of power, this is assault and violence.”

Mikonya renounced his right to legal remedy November 8, after which the university publicly released his name and the results of the ethical procedure. The Central Ethical Committee decided on the most serious sanctions and the university immediately terminated his employment and board memberships.