Rectors decline invitation to ceremony at Prague Castle in solidarity with those shunned

27-10-2014 updated

The former and present rectors of Prague’s prestigious Charles University have declined an invitation from the president to attend a ceremony at Prague Castle on the occasion of Czechoslovak Independence Day on October 28, the country’s most important public holiday. Charles University rector Tomáš Zíma and his predecessor, newly-elected senator Václav Hampl have refused to attend the ceremony in a show of solidarity with two rectors who failed to receive invitations to the event for the second year running now over past disagreements with the president. The board of the Council of Higher Education Institutions has criticized the head of state for breaking with centuries-old tradition and his "unwillingness to rise above petty disputes". The president has defended his right to decide on the guest list for this prestigious ceremony.