An Appeal to the Italian State for Academic Justice for David Aliaga
The Italian State
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Mr Giorgio Napolitano, Italian President
Mr Romano Prodi, Italian Prime Minister
Mr Fabio Mussi, Italian Universities Minister
We urgently invite you to set up a special commission of inquiry in order to resolve the academic injustices suffered by David Aliaga. Such a commission should include an international component with full powers to conduct a comprehensive, correct and impartial review of Mr Aliagas case.
Mr Aliaga enrolled on a doctoral course in Ethnoanthropology at the University of Calabria in 1987, duly completed his work and obtained the approval of international experts in the field. But in 1991 an Italian examining commission inexplicably failed him.
Mr Aliaga has always argued convincingly that the examining commission's criteria were based not upon merit but upon vindictiveness as a result of his having reported serious irregularities relating both to the commission and to the supervision he received in the course of his doctoral studies in Italy.
The examining commission had, in fact, failed to turn up on July 25 1991, the day of Mr Aliagas examination. Mr. Aliaga has also complained that there was no appeals process to respond to grievances and that a recent review of his case by the Italian national universities council (CUN) was conducted unfairly and that he was not invited to testify about his own ordeal.
The special commission of inquiry should also provide clear answers to the following questions:
Why did the entire Italian examining commission fail to turn up for Mr Aliagas examination?
Why was there such a wide divergence in evaluation of Mr Aliagas work by his supervisor and by international scholars, on one hand, and by the Italian national examining commission, on the other?
Why did CUN fail to invite Mr Aliaga to defend his case?
Why do Italian universities not have a proper appeals process which allows students to defend and discuss their grievances?
Your satisfactory response to this petition would provide a first important step towards recognising student dignity, rendering Italian academics more accountable for their evaluations and generally improving the poor credibility of Italian universities.