My life journey had stopped [...] ahead of and in a citadel within a citadel, in an academic citadel – the University of Craiova – sited at the heart of the Oltenian Citadel of the ‘Bans’. [...] Why am I among the longest-lived professors at the University of Craiova? Because it welcomed me on the basis of a selection process in 1968 as lecturer, it integrated me and we jointly went through the most important stages of my professional and scientific development. The University of Craiova has been my ongoing mentor because strong felt seen and unseen bind us to this very day.
Dr. Ion Dogaru
Dean of the Faculty of Law, Craiova (1991-2004)
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world, said Nelson Mandela. As any weapon, education must be well controlled and ethically employed for otherwise its strength becomes destructive. One can always set against armies, but it is much harder to set against uneducated or indoctrinated people.
Romanians understood the first aspect of this reality quite late. Consequently, Romanian universities came late. Then communism greatly perverted and used them as a tool for indoctrination. During the anti-communist revolution Romanian education began to be regarded as a weapon designed to change the world, though not in the manner we were fancying, but according to the anti-liberal dogmatics.
In this endeavour to change Man through indoctrination, legal higher education naturally acted as spearhead. Law Schools had been massacred by communists, at least as regards the ideological basis and the public law doctrine. Extra-mural students experienced the illusion of resistance, but their doctrine had already reoriented towards firm statism, even if less visible than in their fellow students’ case.
The anti-communist revolution therefore saw Romanian Law Schools in an advanced phase of symbolic destructuring. We had to rebuild everything after 1989. Liberalism was now accessible, but the reality was that Romanian jurists only vaguely knew it, which led to long hesitations and to the retention of some acquired reflexes that created a kind of theoretical somnambulism. In this context the restoration of an existent School according to the new philosophical founding of the society or the creation of a new School were two somewhat equivalent endeavours. Perhaps the creation of a School from scratch, of course not ex nihilo, was easier from some points of view.
In Craiova, Professor Ion Dogaru seized this opportunity and risked the establishment of a new faculty of law on the basis of a University with some tradition – it being the last Romanian University founded before the rise of communism, within the Oltenian cultural space recognised for the pervasiveness of practical reason – by focusing on the existence of a law department at the University that provided students and economists with fundamental know-how in the field.
The corpus of professors and researchers of this young structure developed at the same time and with the same vigour with which older structures were reformed. 25 years later, differences fade away. The impetuousness of youth has successfully competed with the conveyance of academic tradition. Our fellow colleagues in older university centres have helped us compensate the flaws that go along with a lack of maturity and we thank them on that account.
We now have to jointly use the weapon of legal education to ensure freedom, rather than change the world. This might seem less grandiose to those accustomed to the prevalence of the general interest over our private interests, but it is merely a reflex induced by communist education. Interest is general on sole account of its availability to all people and at all times, and not because it is superior to our freedom. Understanding this aspect ought to be the new purpose of legal education.
The Faculty of Law of the University of Craiova wishes to firmly tread this path and invites you all to concertedly construct freedom through the means of justice.
Dr. Dan Claudiu Dănişor
Rector of the University of Craiova
Dean of the Faculty of Law, Craiova (2008-2012)