Rectors have turned into ‘Rectotators,’ says report on Turkish universities
ISTANBULA group of academics have compiled a report on widespread rights violations at universities in Turkey, claiming that rectors have turned into “rectotators” - a combination of rector and dictator.
The report, titled “Rights Violations at Universities and Higher Education Institutions,” was prepared by 76 academics from 47 universities, who are members of teacher’s union Eğitim-Sen.
The report criticized the excessive authority given to rectors and the increasingly "arbitrary" manner of the position’s conduct.
“The rector has vast authority, such as implementing [Higher Education Board] YÖK’s decisions, preparing the university’s investment programs, budgeting and staff needs, changing the positions of academics and other personnel, taking security measures, and conducting scientific and administrative surveillance and auditing,” read an excerpt of the report.
“When the president’s arbitrary appointment of his/her own rector candidate by not looking at which rank the candidate has reached in the elections adds to the excessive authority of the rector position, and the severity of the situation deepens," it added.
Listing the top 25 rights violations that are being experienced in universities around Turkey, the report put the arbitrary appointment of deans and college directors, without taking into consideration merit or faculty opinions, at the top of the list. This was followed by the favoring of circles that are either close to the rectorate or certain political tendencies in the carrying out of construction tenders.
Favoritism in the distribution of university’s works that bring income was listed in third place, while making appointments to high-degree positions without any exams was fourth and the lack of student dormitories was fifth.
Another topic that the report stressed was the recent increase in threats, oppression, and investigations of staff members, as well as firings. The report stated that such cases were mostly seen among research assistants, while the report also criticized that these assistants were given too many ordinary chores aside from their academic duties.
The report strongly criticized YÖK, saying that it had aimed to build "oppressive and unequal relations since its establishment," and did not in any way meet the needs of the university lifestyle or the components of a university.
Eğitim-Sen is known to be at odds with the government on a number of educational issues in Turkey.