Apparently, it’s not only in the US of A that idiots and nincompoops wind up running universities.
Fëdor Dostoevsky has become the unlikely source of a controversy at a Milan university over its decision to drop a course on the 19th-century Russian novelist.
The University of Milano-Bicocca informed the Italian writer Paolo Nori on Tuesday night that his course on the author of Crime and Punishment had been cancelled “to avoid any controversy, in a moment of high tension.”
An incredulous, emotional Nori read the contents of the email during an Instagram live video in which he slammed the university’s decision as “ridiculous”, saying “even dead Russians” are now the target of censorship in Italy.
News of his cancelled course spread rapidly on social media, with criticism directed at the university which soon found itself embroiled in the very thing it had sought to avoid: controversy.
On Wednesday morning the university issued a statement underlining that it is “open to dialogue and listening even in this very difficult period that sees us dismayed by the escalation of the conflict.”
It confirmed that the course on Dostoevsky would in fact go ahead as originally planned and announced that the rector would be meeting Nori next week “for a moment of reflection.”
It is not the first time in recent days that the war in Ukraine has impacted the arts in Milan.
Earlier this week the city’s mayor Beppe Sala “ruled out” the return of Valery Gergiev to the podium at La Scala over the Russian conductor’s refusal to condemn the invasion of Ukraine by his friend Vladimir Putin.