Trimakas leaves Vilnius Arts Academy amid misconduct allegations
Lithuanian National Culture and Arts Prize winner, photographer Gintautas Trimakas, who has been accused of unacceptable behaviour toward female students, is leaving the Vilnius Academy of Arts (VDA).
Trimakas handed in his resignation on Monday, VDA Rector Audrius Klimas told BNS, adding that he would accept the resignation.
The Ethics Committee of the VDA Senate stated on Monday that Trimakas violated the academy's ethical norms when he tried to enter into "non-academic relationships "with his female students.
The committee announced its findings after examining two female students' complaints concerning events that happened several years ago.
Trimakas says that he is leaving the academy because of the negative evaluation of his behavior.
"There is equality (before the law). It doesn't matter to me if I'm a smaller or larger offender. It couldn't have been otherwise," he told BNS when asked to comment on the reasons for his resignation.
The photographer said he had not yet decided whether he would go to the Presidential Palace on Thursday to pick up his National Culture and Arts Prize.
The prize money, amounting to 30,400 euros, has already been paid to the laureate.
Trimakas insists that he had no improper intentions toward his students. The photographer said that one lesson he had learned from the scandal was that "you can't be friendly to everyone".
Trimakas is one of several lecturers who have been publicly accused of sexual misconduct toward students in recent weeks. The other men are painter Jonas Gasiūnas and psychologist Arvydas Liepuonius (both have resigned from the Vilnius Academy of Arts amid the allegations), and Jonas Vaitkus, head of the Russian Theater of Lithuania who teaches at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater.