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University Professors decision , Decision no. 83-165 DC Constitutional Council, January 20, 1984, D. 1984, 593

Facts: In May 1968, French universities were restructured. The result was the replacement of faculties by "units of study and research" run by tenured professors. To favor the democratization of the public sector, a law was proposed to reduce the role of academic staff in the running of universities to enable the participation of other categories of university employee. The new law provided that representatives to the committees of the universities were to be elected by an electoral body composed of professors, non-tenured teachers and researchers, and personnel from the libraries and museums.

Holding: The Constitutional Council held that this provision was unconstitutional and ruled that equality of treatment implied the prohibition of irrelevant discrimination but also the positive respect for relevant differences.

Reasoning: the Council found that the new electoral system would not give and respect the special place and role of professors in promoting non-tenured teachers and in the running of Universities, because the majority of the electoral college would be composed of other groups. Here the law should provide professors with their special status within the Universities government and a discrimination in favor of professors would thus be justified and mandatory.


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