At the School of Nature and Landscape in Blois, a case of harassment mobilizes students and teachers

Since Monday, in Blois, in the Loir-et-Cher, each end of the day has been marked by a curious procession. More than a hundred young people walk in silence and in single file through the city center. They wave long branches of ailant, an invasive tree. At each stop, on the forecourt of the castle, the gates of the prefecture or those of the courthouse, signs are brandished: “National Institute of Applied Silence”, “Ministry, we want clear answers”. Then percussions and a cry resound in unison: “Silence, violence! “

They are students of the prestigious School of Nature and Landscape of Blois, department of the National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA) of Center-Val de Loire, an engineering school located in Blois and Bourges (Cher) . The school which trains these 130 budding landscape designers, who came from all over France for a five-year training program, at master’s level, occupies the premises of the former Poulain chocolate factory. Opposite, in the midst of an expansion project, stands the INSA building, whose engineering graduates are sought after by Nexter and MBDA companies, armaments giants established in the region. On a daily basis, two student cultures come together without ever really mixing.

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If these students from the School of Landscape and Nature demonstrate, it is in support of their director, Lolita Voisin. In July, after several months of shutdown for health reasons, the director and teacher-researcher filed a complaint against her superior, the director of INSA Center-Val de Loire, Nicolas Gascoin, for alleged acts of moral and sexual harassment.

Alerted in March already, the rector of the academy of Orléans-Tours sent a report to the public prosecutor, and immediately warned the ministry of higher education, which assured that he was going to initiate an administrative investigation . Lolita Voisin’s hearings with the judicial police are taking place this week. “Justice will have to investigate and obviously I am at its disposal. I will defend myself forcefully on accusations that I dispute ”, INSA director Nicolas Gascoin said Monday. The ministry has still not released the findings of its own investigation. Decisions will be made ” quickly “,on the basis of the recommendations of the General Inspectorate’s report ”, indicates Rue Descartes.

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