University of Tartu terminates contract with library director Martin Hallik ({{commentsTotal}})

Martin Hallik.
Martin Hallik. Source: Margus Ansu/Eesti Meedia/SCANPIX

The Univeristy of Tartu has unilaterally terminated the employment of the director of its library, Martin Hallik, due to what it refers to as Mr. Hallik's undignified conduct.

The university added that in the interest of its staff, and due to the fact that a third party was involved, it could not elaborate on the nature of the incident or incidents.

Speaking to ERR as reported on ETV current affairs show 'Aktuaalne Kaamera', the University of Tartu's communications manager Kristina Kurm stated that Mr. Hallik's conduct had not been confined to just the one incident, and that it had first learned of the situation two weeks ago.

''The university can't comment more on the issue,'' she said.

''There are facts in play which we can't discuss publicly...suffice to say that we simply wish to protect those people who are connected with the incident, as well as Martin himself,'' she went on, referring ERR to the police for further clarification, with the latter stating that no criminal proceedings were in progress in connection with the case.

For his part, Mr. Hallik said that his dismissal had come as a shock.

According to the Baltic News Service, Mr. Hallik had stated on his social media account that: ''I have been an employee of good standing at the university since 1999. During this lengthy period, not one single complaint had been lodged against me by my employer. So my dismissal came as a shock. Right now I am taking legal advice to decide how to proceed further.''

Current situation at university and Tarty City Council

Acting director of the library is Liisi Lembinen, who has in fact fulfilled this role since April, it is reported, a post which she had previously served in, in 2013-2015. Ms. Lembinen is current development director of the library.

Mr. Hallik served as University of Tartu Library Director from 2005-2010, then again since 2016. During the intervening time he was Vice-Rector of Research at the university, it is reported.

Mr. Hallik is active in politics in Tartu as well, serving in the Social Democratic Party (SDE) grouping on the Tartu City Council, but is not actually a party member.

According to Gea Kangilaski, SDE party leader at the Tartu City Council, Mr. Hallik has requested his membership on the council be suspended for three months.

Ms. Kangilaski similarly could not divulge to ERR the exact nature of Mr. Hallik's alleged infringements.

The bookshelves at University of Tartu library have reportedly been off-limits to students and others for many months due to renovation work; books can be requested via the ESTER system and picked up at the library desk.

For readers with Estonian, the original report and video is here.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte



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