No. 50 of the Collection of Laws and Regulations of 28 January 1919
on the ESTABLISHMENT OF
A SECOND UNIVERSITY
The National Assembly has made the following decision:
|§1||A Czechoslovak state university with four faculties - faculty of law, medicine, natural sciences and arts - is hereby established in Brno under the name of "Masaryk University".|
|§2||At the beginning of the study year 1919-1920, the first year of the faculty of law and the first and second years of the faculty of medicine shall be established. The faculties of natural sciences and arts shall be established at the beginning of the study year 1921-22 at the latest.|
|§3||The ultimate placement and furnishing of the new university and all its departments and institutes in suitable buildings constructed for the purpose shall be finished by the year 1930 at the latest.|
|§4||The Ministry of Education and National Enlightenment is hereby authorized to issue, after having consulted the university advisory board of the said ministry, all the necessary regulations for the starting period.|
|T. G. Masaryk|
|Švehla represented by the Prime Minister|
|Dr. Stránský||Dr. Rašín|
|Dr. Winter||Dr. Zahradník|
Comment on the Charter of the University of Brno
The University of Brno was established by the Act No. 50 of the Collection of Laws and Regulations of 28th of January 1919 on the Establishment of a Second University. Opening ceremony centred on the commencement of its activity was to proceed in the presence of the President Thomas Garrigue Masaryk during his first planned visit to Moravia and Silesia regions in the days of 8th – 10th of November 1919. One of the items on the prepared agenda applied to placing so called Charters at the disposal of rectors appointed to the rectorship at the new founded universities in Brno – i.e. Masaryk University, University of Agriculture, and University of Veterinary Sciences – scheduled for the 8th of November 1919 to the hall of the Provincial Parliament. On that occasion was on parchment drawn up and into jacket made of leather inserted the University Charter. Prof. Kysel from the Arts and Crafts School in Prague was entrusted with the execution of the artwork. The text of the Charter reads as follows:
"The National Assembly of the Czechoslovak Republic has established by the Act No. 50 of the Collection of Laws and Regulations the second Czech university in Brno, giving it a name of Masaryk University. This way was at the very beginning of our statehood fulfilled our long term need and ardent desire for the second focal point of the national learning and education of the public. The Czechoslovak government meeting thus the obligations imposed by that Act accomplished all the preliminary works needed for establishing of the Faculty of Law (the first and the third year class) and the Faculty of Medicine (the first and the second year class) at the beginning of the academic year 1919/1920. Today was this university inaugurated and presented to the academic community of Brno in the presence of PhDr. T. G. Masaryk, the first Czechoslovak President. In memory of that Mr. President signed this Charter and delivered it to JUDr. Karel Engliš, the first rector of the Masaryk University, wishing that the University of Brno will live, grow strong and blossom, while nobly competing with its older Prague sister, and consequently will serve as the laboratory of spirits and hearts for all sons and daughters of our nation longing for the right knowledge, and will also release from its halls workers delighted with creative love to the nation and filled with the will to look after this country and state, its own creator. In Brno, on the . . . November 1919”.
In the autumn of 1919 T. G. Masaryk suddenly fell sick and therefore the scheduled visit didn’t take place. University activity was then inaugurated at small opening ceremony on the 11th of November 1919. The unsigned Charter remained filed at the Ministry of Education and National Culture in Prague, and prof. Karel Engliš transferred it from there to Brno no sooner than in 1931. On the 1st of December 1931 the University Council during its session decided to ask T. G. Masaryk to sign the Charter additionally. Thus signed Charter would be filed in the newly founded university archives. This request made by the University Council was delivered by the Ministry of Education and National Culture to the Office of the President of the Republic on the 14th of January 1932. The Office of the President submitted the Charter to Mr. T. G. Masaryk for consideration, but together with it presented its viewpoint opposing the signing of the Charter in proposed wording, because the text contained misleading information. Namely, the Charter was not delivered to the rector of the university Mr. Karel Engliš in November 1919 and Mr. T. G. Masaryk wasn’t present at the commencement of activity taken up by the university. The Office of the President recommended that to the text of the Charter is subjoined a supplement setting the records straight.
The question of the Charter was also on the agenda when rector Rudolf Vanýsek was received in audience by President of the Republic on the 26th of May 1933. Secretary of the University Archival Board František Čáda, professor at the Faculty of Law, was entrusted in behalf of the University of Brno with negotiations centred on the Charter. On the 21st of June 1933 he submitted to the Office of the President three alternatives how to solve this problem. The first variant was based on the following supplement: “Since due to illness I couldn’t sign the MU Charter and deliver it solemnly in Brno to representatives of the University Council, I have signed it additionally upon application of the University Council. Done at the capital city Prague, on this . . . day . . . of . . . in the year . . . TGM M. P.” However, Mr. Čáda himself didn’t prefer this version, because its form corresponded rather to a protocol than to intended ceremonial act. According to the second Čáda’s suggestion, the unsigned original document would be in the rector’s office annotated with an explanation why it wasn’t signed and then it would be filed in the university archives. For the purpose of the Foundation Act would be executed new deed in ceremonial form reproducing – confirming wording of the Act No. 50 dated 28th of January 1919. Mr. Čáda drew up two variant readings of such new deed. But he wasn’t satisfied with them, since he realized that in question is rather a deed of commemoration that is hardly formulable in a proper manner after so many years than a deed of foundation in the real sense of the word. In addition to that he feared that execution of the deed in this form would get stuck for a long time due to procrastination in the course of official proceedings, and therefore he proposed yet the third possible solution based on T. G. Masaryk’s short speech delivered to the rector and to the University Council. Such speech would be recorded on parchment and Mr. T. G. Masaryk would send it to the university or deliver it to the rector during his presidential stay at his summer residence in Židlochovice.
The chief of section in the Ministry of Education and National Culture Mr. Matouš Malbohan surveyed Čáda’s suggestions and recommended the third possible solution. He specified its form to the intent that the President should sent to the rector a letter reflecting his regret that on account of formal and objective reasons he couldn’t sign the University Charter, with remark that he watched interestedly activity, work and flourishing of the university, wishing it full prosperity in the course of its subsequent functioning. The original Charter with explanatory appendix would be filed in university archives.
The Office of the President considered the possibility of rewriting the Act No. 50 on parchment. But this was unfeasible, since some of the undersigned persons weren’t alive anymore. The Office of the President finally also favoured the last alternative out of three surveyed by Mr. Čáda. However, the Office simultaneously warned of the difficulty incidental to realization of the solution. To wit, within the scope of economy measures just at that time appropriate commission proposed to the Czechoslovak Government to dissolve two MU faculties, namely the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Science. The government didn’t give its opinion of dissolution of two faculties in question at the time when the Charter negotiations yet were in progress. Under these circumstances the Office of the President feared that the mentioned T. G. Masaryk’s letter would be read as an attempt to affect government negotiations in favour of the University of Brno. And consequently was the effort of the university together with the pursuit of the Charter definitively suppressed once and for all.
After all, the whole history of the Charter was of benefit also to the university. Early in 1935 the governor of the National Bank and concurrently professor at the Faculty of Law of the Masaryk University Karel Engliš suggested that in lieu of the Charter Mr. T. G. Masaryk should then dedicate medal with his portrait to the Masaryk University. Mr. T. G. Masaryk afterwards presented the Rector’s chain with medal to this university and later it also served as base for procurement of the university insignia.
The Charter alone also thereafter remained filed at the Ministry of Education and National Culture. In 1940 it was deposited in the Provincial Bank. The fate of the Charter after 1945 is uncertain. At the end of the occupation the Charter was allegedly displaced to Vienna. Sources relating to the Charter of the University of Brno are filed in the MU archives, in the Archives of the Office of the President of the Czech Republic in Prague, in the archival collection of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic at the National Archives in Prague, and apparently also in the written inheritance of prof. František Čáda.