Year 1998

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On 5th February, upon suggestion of Rector Professor Jānis Vētra, the MAL’s Constitutional Assembly was convened and adopted the decision – to transform the Medical Academy of Latvia into Rīga Stradiņš University. The MAL’s Senate had already adopted a decision in principle about such a transformation, in November of the previous year. Consistent with the Republic of Latvia’s Law on Institutions of Higher Education which was agreed to in 1995, Rīga Stradiņš University’s Draft Constitution was developed.

According to the law at that time in Latvia, university constitutions had to be approved by the Saeima. That’s why there were transitional provisions in RSU Constitution: “During the period from 5th February 1998 until 31st August 1998, both names – “Medical Academy of Latvia” and “Rīga Stradiņš University” could be used. Their use is regulated by special Rector decrees.” It is stated in RSU Constitution’s Preamble that: “The origins of Rīga Stradiņš University are associated with (...) the Higher School of Latvia which was founded on 8th February 1919”. After exactly 79 years – on 5th February 1998 – the MAL’s Constitutional Assembly unanimously adopted the Constitution of Rīga Stradiņš University.

On 10th March, the MAL (RSU) Senate, supporting Ilze Ostrovska’s motion, adopted a decision to establish the new Faculty of Social Sciences. The Faculty’s four departments offered eight bachelor programmes at that time.

On 9th November 1999, the MAL (RSU) Senate adopted a decision on the establishment of a European Integration Institute. In 2002, after the reorganization of the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Faculty of European Studies was established. In 2006, RSU's Sociology Department was renamed the Sociology and Legal Studies Department. In 2007, the Faculty of Communications was established, and the Faculty of Law was formed in 2009.

On 18th March, MAL (RSU) Rector Professor J. Vētra introduced the “Open letter – announcement” to a staff academic meeting. It was sent to Latvia’s President, Latvia’s Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Saeima, political parties, the Minister of Welfare, the Minister of Education and Science, the State Audit Office, MAL (RSU) academic staff and students. Issues connected with the establishment of RSU and the negative attitude towards the development of medical education in Latvia from individual members of the nation’s leadership were outlined in the letter. Problems had arisen with the ratification of RSU Constitution by the Saeima. On 2nd February, the University of Latvia’s Rector Professor Juris Zaķis had even issued an order on “Provision for the renewed operation of the LU Faculty of Medicine”.

On 15th September, a student initiated picket took place in front of the Cabinet of Ministers building, where RSU students, academic staff and employees protested against the University's subjection to political intrigues. About 400 people took part in the picket. Their placards were bearing slogans such as “We want to study at Rīga Stradiņš University – at a competitive university – don’t allow a monopoly on education!”, “Let’s not allow tēvzemieši and Saimnieks to defame our Rīga Stradiņš University!” [Note: tēvzemieši and Saimnieks were two of the political parties at the time].

1998 1
Students picket at the Cabinet of Ministers.

1998 2

Minister of Health Vladimirs Makarovs talks to picketers.