From Iceland — Rector Denies Being Pressured

Rector Denies Being Pressured

Published September 3, 2013

The rector of the University of Iceland denied that the decision to withdraw a guest lecturer offer to a former minister was the result of being pressured to do so.
As reported, earlier this month former foreign minister Jón Baldvín Hannibalsson was invited by the University of Iceland to a guest lecturer position. This hiring led to some strong objections from the general public, as it was pointed out that only a year and a half ago, the magazine Nýtt Líf brought to light letters of strong sexual content that Jón Baldvín had written to Guðrún Harðardóttir, the daughter of his wife’s sister, who was between the ages of 14 and 17 at the time the letters were sent. The university later rescinded their invitation. The withdrawal of the guest lecturer position resulted in a backlash of its own.
Vísir now reports that Kristín Ingólfsdóttir, the rector of the university, apologised for the way the university handled the situation, saying that she intends to meet with Jón Baldvín in the days to come. She also denied any allegations that she had been “pressured” into reversing the decision.
Ómar H. Kristmundsson, the president of the social sciences department, told reporters that when the original decision was taken, not enough time was spent listening to the different opinions about Jón Baldvín having the position. In the wake of this controversy, he assured reporters that clearer guidelines will be set for guest lecturer spots.

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