Blocking of universities, recruitment … The truth of the false on the law of programming of research

The Minister of Higher Education and Research, Frédérique Vidal, on October 22, 2020 in Nantes. (drawing) – Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / SIPA

  • The Senate must definitively adopt, Friday, November 20, the research programming bill for the years 2021 to 2030.
  • This text, carried by the Minister of Higher Education and Research, Frédérique Vidal, contains two provisions denounced by the teacher-researchers.
  • What is really the offense of obstruction and the changes introduced in the process of recruiting teachers? 20 Minutes make the point.

“A new pact is about to be sealed between science and France, through a text which, I am convinced, is a great text, a major text for our research as for our society. By giving one a horizon, he gives another a future. “It is with these words that Frédérique Vidal introduced at the National Assembly, Tuesday 17 November, the research programming law for the years 2021 to 2030 (LPPR),
adopted in the wake by the deputies by 188 votes for and 83 against. The Senate must validate the text on Friday, November 20. It will then be definitively adopted.

But the bill is far from unanimous among teacher-researchers, many of whom have expressed their opposition to it in recent weeks, whether through various forums in the press or on social networks, in favor of of “Black screens” strike movement. Two different ways of expressing their concern for the future of the research world, mainly because of two much criticized measures of this law: one for its alleged serious interference with the faculty recruitment process, and the other for the criminal threat that it would pose to any demonstration within universities.

20 Minutes disentangles the true from the false on these two divisive points.


The first most divisive point of the law concerns the offense of obstruction, created article 20 bis AA of the text, which punishes one year of imprisonment and a 7,500 euros fine “the fact of entering or remaining in the enclosure of a higher education establishment without being authorized by virtue of legislative or regulatory provisions or to have been authorized by the competent authorities, in order to disturb the peace or the good order of the establishment. “A sentence increased to 3 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 45,000 euros when it is committed” in a meeting “.

Aware of the serious concern of the university body on this issue, Frédérique Vidal said, during her address to the National Assembly on Tuesday, November 17, that the offense of obstruction “is in no way a cut in freedom to demonstrate students or staff ”. And the Minister to affirm: “The device introduced in the text does not bring anything more than it already exists in our legal and penal arsenal. It does not concern students or staff of establishments. “

Enough to raise even more questions about the real scope of this article within the community of teacher-researchers, as pointed out Sylvie Bauer, professor of universities at Rennes II and president of the standing committee of the National Council of Universities: “Why introduce this provision if it doesn’t change anything? The conclusion that we draw is that it changes something and that it is very problematic, because it could mean the end of the university franchise, thanks to which the police can only intervene on campus at the request of university presidents. “

“Protect universities from outside groups like the” black blocs “”

“Where do we place the limit on reunion action? Is a student assembly concerned? University blockages – whose problems we can clearly see – are they too? If the university is not a place of circulation of the word, a place of dispute, we understand against what this text can protect and we also see very well what it opens the door to ”, the teacher warns.

On this point, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research indicates to 20 Minutes that “the law does not threaten the principle of university openness” and that “university presidents remain the only ones authorized to involve the police. “

” The Penal Code already planning that entering or remaining within the confines of a public establishment without being authorized to do so and with the aim of disturbing its peace or good order is a crime. It is now a question of preserving the establishments from intrusions outside the university. The objective of the measure is above all to protect universities from outside groups, such as “black blocs”, “concludes the ministry.

Appointment of teachers

November 12, via a tweet, Frédérique Vidal addressed the second point of contention of the LPPR. “The National Council of Universities [CNU] has entered the public debate for several days. I repeat, at no time is there any question of its abolition, but of making it evolve to better take into account the autonomy of universities. ”
The CNU, an organization little known to the general public but decisive in the operation of higher education establishments since it is responsible for pronouncing “on individual measures relating to the qualification, recruitment and career of university professors and masters of conferences ”.

Or, article 3 bis of the bill allows the recruitment of university professors without the qualification usually required from the National Council of Universities. A measure supposed to allow, according to the text, “to expand the pools of potential candidates”, but which would open the door to the recruitment of less qualified or competent teachers, according to its detractors.

Joined by 20 Minutes, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research specifies: “The idea is to allow establishments to waive, on an experimental basis and within a very strict framework, for lecturers, the obligation to recruit a person from the qualifying list provided by the CNU. This is an additional step that penalizes original profiles whose work lies at the borders of several disciplines. “

“As regards access to the body of university professors, it is a question of exempting full lecturers from qualification. There are many rather heavy steps to access the body of university professor: obtaining a doctorate, an internship, a tenure, an authorization to direct research and the qualification of the CNU. Universities are able to judge the quality of a teacher after years of practice, they do not need to resort to the qualification list to find out who is competent “, adds the ministry, stressing that” naturally, important regulatory work [décrets et arrêtés] must be carried out to establish a new procedure which provides all the guarantees of scientific requirement and to limit the risk of localism. “

A national council of universities “emptied of its substance”

However, contrary to what Frédérique Vidal could say, university professors do not denounce the disappearance of the National Council of Universities, but the fact of drastically reducing its prerogatives. “The minister is right, she is not removing the National Council of Universities, but is organizing its future disappearance. Admittedly, the CNU retains certain functions – such as the allocation of certain bonuses and the passage in advancement – but it removes its main prerogative, which is the qualification ”, underlines to 20 Minutes Mathias Latina, professor of private law at the University of Côte d’Azur.

Sylvie Bauer, professor of universities at Rennes II and president of the permanent committee of the National Council of Universities, agrees: “This law empties the CNU of its substance. We are not against the idea of ​​reforming the CNU, but it is still necessary that it be involved in the discussion, which was not the case. And contrary to what is said and repeated, it is not expensive, it would not represent a significant cost to continue to let us do the expertise and to leave the establishments to carry out their recruitment behind. “

“It’s the policy of taking small steps: abolishing the status of teacher-researcher all at once, that would never pass, so we will tear it up little by little. This law creates competition between precarious statuses and, in the long term, by removing the qualification, it will remove the base of the civil servant, so that one becomes the simple employees of a university ”, adds Mathias Latina.

“How do you select the candidates if there is no longer an instance which is doing the sorting?” “

While he acknowledges that the university selection committees are supposed to play a “guardrail” role by preventing a school president from deciding on recruitment alone, Mathias Latina recalls the reality of their operation: “These committees do not ‘do not have the material means to operate, they already do not have the time, and they will absolutely not have time to do the work that was done upstream by the National Council of Universities.

“I honestly do not know how we will select the candidates if there is no longer a national body which sorts out those who are good and less good”, worries the professor, who fears the temptation of ” localism “:” The danger that everyone points to is that we fall back on the candidate we know. That would entail the risk of pressure from the university which would say: “We want our candidate”, and it is very difficult to say no in these cases. “

For its part, the Ministry of Higher Education and Research assures us that “this question will be the subject of a consultation launched by the end of November to think all together in conditions of trust and transparency to ensure that it works ”and that“ all the time necessary will be taken for this purpose ”.

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