(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
The Hebrew University – Hadassah School of Dental Medicine’s plan to fire 52 dentists has aroused the ire of the faculty. In an emergency session held on Tuesday, dental researcher Prof.
Nardi Caspi said: “We will not let them destroy the faculty. There is an effort to take the dentists hostage until somebody pays for their release.”
The dismissals will bring about the closing of the dental school, he said. It is one of only two dental schools in the country, with the second one run by Tel Aviv University.
Two weeks ago, dismissal letters were issued to a third of the dental faculty due to a dispute over money with the Hebrew University, which is a partner in the school. On Monday night, Hadassah Medical Organization management, headed by director- general Prof. Zeev Rotstein, said it intends to carry out the firings.
At the emergency meeting, the dentists said that for the last three years, they were an “integral, inseparable part of Hadassah’s doctors.”
“We all carried the burden of cuts, staff reductions and wage decreases,” they said in a statement. “We worked hard to fill all the demands and goals. Now we will not agree to being hostages in the struggle between the university and Hadassah.”
Caspi, head of the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery, said the dentists involved “have been teaching here for 20 or 30 years...Firing a third of all faculty members means the closing of the school, which has 370 students and graduates 100 every year.”
Asked for comment, the Hadassah Medical Organization said it is very worried about the “unilateral offsetting done by the university in transferring funds from the Council of Higher Education to Hadassah that required it to cut into the flesh of the institution.”
Hadassah finds itself opposite an old affiliation agreement with the university in which it finances the cost of five academic schools of the university that “creates a deficit of NIS 70 million a year. In this impossible situation, an offsetting of NIS 1m. from the monthly transfer from the university is the straw that broke the camel’s back and leaves Hadassah unable to pay the salaries of the schools’ faculty,” the organization’s spokeswoman said.
“With all the understanding of the university’s problems, it is impossible that its efforts to make the schools more efficient will punish Hadassah by cutting the amount of money Hadassah receives... The response of solidarity by the dentists is understandable, but it worsens the problem,” the spokeswoman added.
The Hadassah Medical Organization called on the university to “stop its evasion and enter immediately into the depth of the problem with [the organization] to find a solution.”
The university spokesman had no response by press time, saying its senior officials were in meetings.