On 21 June 2021, The Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation declared Bard College (USA) an ‘undesirable organisation’. Due to requests received from media on the prospects of collaboration between St Petersburg University and Bard College we wish to state the following.
Official answer of Yury Penov, Deputy Rector for Legal Affairs, published on St Petersburg University Virtual Reception portal:
St Petersburg University has been actively partnering with Bard College since 1997. The cooperation has been limited first to collaboration between Bard College and teachers who implemented the academic programme ‘Liberal Arts and Sciences’ at the Faculty of Philology and later between Bard College and the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The USA annually allocated donations at the disposal of: the Dean of the Faculty of Philology; then Vice-Rector for African and Asian Studies, the Arts and Philology; and then the Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
In the last few years the amount of donations placed in support of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences from the Endowment of Bard College was at least half a million dollars a year.
As instructed by the Dean, the money was spent on: the organisation of educational and academic seminars; additional payments to teachers of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences; travel expenses of the academics of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences; various extra-curricular activities; and supernumerary teachers (including teachers from the European University at St Petersburg and National Research University Higher School of Economics).
The same amount of money remained at Bard College. Reportedly, the money was used by the administration of Bard College to receive students, teachers and researchers from the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences in Bard College as well as to send staff of Bard College to St Petersburg to work at the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
On 22 June 2021 upon the declaration of The Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian
Federation, Sergey Andryushin, Deputy Rector for International Affairs at St Petersburg University notified Bard College in writing about termination of collaboration and of all agreements.
The agreement between St Petersburg University and Bard College that conforms to the Russian legislation and has legal power was signed only in 2011. From 1997 until 2005 all agreements and contracts between the two universities were legally untenable and contained multiple breaches of law. You can get a more detailed information on cooperation between St Petersburg University and Bard College on the Virtual Reception portal.