Mathias Vicherat, the director of the esteemed Sciences Po school in Paris, announced his resignation following a court order to stand trial in a domestic violence case.

After both he and his partner, Anissa Bonnefont, were briefly detained in December, with each accusing the other of domestic violence, students at Sciences Po demanded his resignation.

Founded in 1872, Sciences Po holds significant influence as a cornerstone of French elite education and a hub of political power. Its alumni include President Emmanuel Macron, former French and foreign leaders, as well as prominent figures in literature, media, culture, and fashion.

At 45 years old, Vicherat stated that he was stepping down to safeguard the school from any repercussions of the domestic violence case. He emphasized the institution’s importance over his personal situation.

Regarding the accusations against him, Vicherat maintained they were vague, expressing confidence in the legal system to establish the facts.

The criminal case was initiated by prosecutors, as neither Vicherat nor his former partner filed any legal complaints.

The Paris prosecutors’ office confirmed that both had been summoned on charges of reciprocal domestic violence, leading to an incapacity to work for more than eight days.

According to a source close to the investigation, the case is set for trial in the autumn.

Vicherat had temporarily stepped aside in January after a preliminary investigation was launched, and students blockaded the school, protesting what they saw as “impunity” for individuals involved in “sexual and sexist violence.”

While Sciences Po students welcomed his decision to resign, they expressed regret over the prolonged duration of the matter.

Lachlan, an Australian exchange student who declined to provide his last name, remarked, “If something like this happens in my country, people would step down quite quickly.”

A French student, who chose not to reveal her name, emphasized that Sciences Po should adhere to the values it promotes.

Sciences Po’s reputation had already been tarnished when Vicherat’s predecessor, Frederic Mion, was accused of covering up incest allegations against political scientist Olivier Duhamel. After Mion resigned in 2021, Vicherat took over, prioritizing the fight against sexual violence.

Meanwhile, another controversy erupted on the Sciences Po campus, as around 100 students occupying the main lecture hall as part of a pro-Palestinian demonstration were accused of preventing entry to a Jewish student and verbally abusing her.

The incident drew condemnation from top government officials, with Macron describing the remarks as “unspeakable and perfectly intolerable.”

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal and Higher Education Minister Sylvie Retailleau visited the Sciences Po Foundation’s board to stress the seriousness of the incident and urged the university to maintain a conducive environment for learning and healthy debates, as stated by its management.

The management added that legal action was being taken over anti-Semitic acts and expressed regret over the deteriorating relations between students, denouncing an unacceptable toxic climate.

However, some students on the ground urged caution in government condemnation, advocating for verified information before involving high-ranking officials.

They clarified that the Jewish student had been barred from entry due to alleged intimidation of pro-Palestinian students during the protest, while other members of the Union of Jewish Students in France participated in the debates.

France, home to a significant Jewish population after Israel and the United States, has witnessed an increase in pro-Palestinian demonstrations since the conflict between Hamas and Israel erupted, accompanied by a rise in anti-Semitic acts.