Boğaziçi students up in arms over rector elections

Boğaziçi students up in arms over rector elections

Emine Kart - ANKARA
Boğaziçi students up in arms over rector elections

Professor Gülay Barbarosoğlu

Growing numbers of students at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University have expressed their anger at the candidacy of Vedat Akgiray, a professor and an executive MBA program director, for July 12 rectoral elections on the grounds that his academic record is “too poor” for such a critical post.

In a video posted on YouTube on June 29, a group of dissident students resorted to sarcasm in order to voice their objection to Akgiray. The video is a scene from Harry Potter and the “Goblet of Fire” (2005) titled “Winter is coming,” – an apparent reference to Jon Snow’s appearance in Season One of the “Game of Thrones.”

“Akgiray is said to have not worked in any cadre of the school. He will ruin the school. A few years ago, he is said to have made a statement saying ‘Boğaziçi should be privatized,’” the students say in the video, (

Akgiray is a founder of Bimeks, one of Turkey’s first technology retailer, which was established in 1989.

He is running against the incumbent rector, Professor Gülay Barbarosoğlu, who was elected by a landslide faculty vote, and thereby nominated to the post by the Turkish Council of Higher Education (YÖK) in late July 2012. She was appointed as the new rector of Boğaziçi University by the then-president of Turkey, Abdullah Gül. She started her tenure in August 2012.

A professor of industrial engineering, Barbarosoğlu was the vice-rector of Boğaziçi University in charge of research between 2008 and 2012. During her career, she also acted as the head of the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute of Boğaziçi University, as the founding chair of the Center for Disaster Management, as the chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering, and as the chair of the Graduate Program in Financial Engineering. Barbarosoğlu taught in the areas of mathematical programming and optimization, logistics, operations and production planning, stochastic programming and decision theory.

During her tenure as the vice-chair of the Association of European Operational Research Societies and the national representative of the NATO Research and Technology Organization, she worked with many European universities, governmental and non-governmental institutions in close collaboration.

When she was named the new rector, Barbarosoğlu declared her commitment to maintaining and improving the existing international partnerships and cooperation Boğaziçi University enjoys and emphasized that she would prioritize global partnerships in both academic research and exchanges.