Boğaziçi Univesity academics rally against Turkey’s new decree law on rector appointments
Some 350 academics at Istanbul’s prestigious Boğaziçi University on Nov. 1 issued a press announcement at its southern campus denouncing the government’s recently introduced decree law giving the president authority to directly appoint all state university rectors across Turkey, abandoning the rector election process.
According to the new regulation, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will choose a university rector from three candidates “suggested” by Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YÖK). The president will also be able to appoint a rector directly if he does not select one of those presented by YÖK within a month and the body does not present a new candidate.
Also according to the changes announced on Oct. 29 as part of Turkey’s post-coup attempt state of emergency, all rectors at state universities will only be able to work for a maximum of two terms at the same university.
The Boğaziçi University academics slammed the changes as “new regulations concerning university rector appointments that are not related to the conditions of the state of emergency.”
They said the move would “leave university administrations in the hands of the political will,” recalling that the government first attempted to pass this regulation at parliament in August before pulling back upon deputies’ harsh reactions.
“In democratic societies, rectors are not appointed by the political will. Universities are autonomous institutions. This autonomy is secured by our constitution, even though its scope is narrow. This regulation eliminates universities’ institutional autonomy, both for public and private schools,” said the statement.
It also recalled that Boğaziçi University chose its rector on July 12, reelecting the popular current rector Gülay Barbarosoğlu, who won 86 percent of the vote on a turnout of 90 percent.
“In a country where the importance of elections is stressed every day, ignoring such a clear election result and not appointing the chosen name is unacceptable,” said the academics.