"We will go all the way," says Lola Krivosic, a second-year student at Sciences-Po Reims who is involved with the Alternative Étudiante Reimse, an independent student union that fights against all forms of discrimination. After a first pacifist demonstration on Tuesday in front of the buildings of Sciences-Po Reims, located in the former Jesuit College, the students took to the streets on Thursday, December 2 to express their frustration with the Parisian management, which has been shaken by several scandals in recent years. With the help of explicit leaflets and banners, about fifty activists and committed students surrounded the Reims campus, leaving only "access to the health centre", after having formulated a list of alternative places for their classmates wishing to study.
Placed in police custody on Sunday evening for domestic violence, along with his partner, director Anissa Bonnefont, Mathias Vicherat and his wife were both released on Monday afternoon. An investigation has been entrusted to the Paris prosecutor's office. On Tuesday, the director of Sciences-Po addressed the students by e-mail. "We (he and his partner) are more important than anything to preserve the balance of our families and especially our minor children, and hope that serenity can return to our families," he wrote, adding his "sincere and deep attachment to the values" of the establishment.
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"While the desire to protect one's children and one's life may seem laudable, we cannot accept that this serves as an excuse to blame one's actions on our school," the Reims student union reacted in an Instagram post, recalling the cover-up by Mathias Vicherat's predecessor, Frédéric Mion, of suspicions of incest against political scientist Olivier Duhamel. He was forced to resign in 2021. "We don't want an apology, but we want the resignation of Mathias Vicherat," says Lola Krivosic.
The end of an administration of the "powerful"
Echoing their colleagues from Sciences-Po Paris who are also demonstrating this Thursday, the associations, unions and students mobilized regret a lack of communication from the Reims and Parisian administrations. "We are not given any information that would make us believe that our voice is being heard," says Lola Krivosic. "Sciences-Po cannot remain, once again, a paradise for rapists, violent people, harassers and complacency," the Reims union said. Hoping that this demonstration will not remain localized, this seasoned activist recalls the urgency for regional campuses to make their voices heard and stop this policy of the "powerful". "We have had a lot of echoes here from members of the Reims administration who denounce the omnipotence of the Sciences-Po authorities, but everyone is silent and waiting for directives from Paris."
Also accusing the FNSP (Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques), where Mathias Vicherat currently sits - which allows him to initiate disciplinary proceedings for acts of sexual and gender-based violence - of protection from the members of its board of directors, Lola and all the activists are waiting for answers that are difficult to come from the administrations.
On the side of Sciences-Po Reims, a general assembly was held this Thursday at noon with the students of the campus mobilized, Crystal Cordell, director of the institution having promised to pass on the information. Laurence Bertrand Dorléac, president of the FNSP, said in an email sent to students on the Sciences-Po campuses on Wednesday, December 6 "that a board of directors of the FNSP will be held on Wednesday, December 14 and a CSE the following day," adding that "she is working tirelessly to ensure that Sciences-Po can exercise its role and missions efficiently and with complete serenity."