This is a situation unique in France : Michel Deneken, professor of theology and catholic priest, 59 years old, was elected yesterday.
L‘outcome of the vote left little room for suspense. Michel Deneken has therefore won the election to the presidency of the university of Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin), yesterday afternoon with 26 votes of the members of the board of directors out of 36 possible. But rarely has an election will not have generated as much interest within the prestigious university renowned for its three Nobel Prize winners in five years. And it is indeed the journey of Michel Deneken which fanned the passions. A native of Strasbourg, fifty-year-old is very interested in early theology. Ordained a priest in 1985, he then became the dean of the faculty of theology of the city. Because the university of the capital of the Grand-est has this specificity : the presence of two faculties of theology within it that have remained with the local law, a legacy of the annexation by the germans of Alsace.
” there is no undermining secularism “
His atypical career has earned many critics Michel Deneken. “I had a business of bashing on social networks but also by some media and trade unions “, he said “today in France” in September last year. A defence reiterated yesterday during his victory speech : “there is no undermining secularism. I am a teacher-researcher appointed by the president of the Republic with the same duties, the same freedom that all of the teachers-researchers. “
Still, in a recent news release, the Syndicat national de l’enseignement supérieur (Snesup-FSU), found that ” his application [...] raised serious reservations.” The concerns expressed by Pascal Maillard, academic secretary of the Snesup in Strasbourg, which goes further : “beyond his status as a priest, the real boulet Michel Deneken, it is his record as vice-president, with a financial management and disastrous to a degradation of the working conditions of the staff. “
For its part, the Association fédérative générale des étudiants de Strasbourg (Afges) — output largely victorious elections of student representatives in November — and he knew that his support to the doctor of theology should have weight in the vote. “What we remember of the past of Michel Deneken, it is his experience as vice-president of the university for eight years “, explained yesterday Bastien Barberio, president of the Afges. During his term, the new president will have to maintain its commitment to the health of 50,000 students, of the lower registration fees, or the introduction of continuous assessment in full. But this election was already challenged yesterday afternoon : “the Snesup is studying the possibility of filing a legal remedy, because the mixture of the functions of priest and university president raises the question of the incompatibility of two statutes in matters of law “, warned and Pascal Maillard.