YÖK questions professor’s use of Marx, Moore after students complain

YÖK questions professor’s use of Marx, Moore after students complain

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
YÖK questions professor’s use of Marx, Moore after students complain

The Communist Manifesto, a publication written by the political theorists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels is pictured in a bookstore on January 5, 2012, in Istanbul. AFP Photo

Turkey’s Higher Education Board (YÖK) has confirmed that it asked an academic from Kocaeli University to explain why he listed German philosopher Karl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto” on his course syllabus and showed documentary films from American filmmaker and social critic Michael Moore in class, upon a complaint from a student.

Seydi Çelik, an academic at the Law Faculty of Kocaeli University teaching a constitutional law class, received a note from YÖK on Feb. 21 saying some students had complained about him showing American filmmaker Moore’s documentaries “Sicko” and “Capitalism: A Love Story” in his class.

Students also complained about Marx’s “Communist Manifesto” being a required reading on the syllabus.

YÖK said the process was initiated after one of the students taking Çelik’s class issued an official complaint to the Prime Ministry Communication Center (BİMER) and the investigation aimed to “inform the student.”

“Administrative operation of our institution requires us to process every complaint coming from BİMER; we only informed the Kocaeli University management on the issue,” YÖK press adviser Öznur Yüksek said in a phone interview with the Hürriyet Daily News today.

 “As part of this class, this book can certainly be put on the reading list and an investigation regarding that is not in question,” Yüksek added.

However, the note asked for Çelik to “share his thoughts about the complaints” and called on him to defend himself at YÖK on March 5, the Daily News learned from Kocaeli University officials.

The note from the student, which complained about “making the Communist Manifesto on the list to read and making us watch documentaries in that mentality,” was sent to Çelik exactly as it was written, Çelik told the Daily News.

When asked whether all complaints coming from students are taken seriously and academics asked to defend themselves in turn, Yüksel said this was the standard legal procedure.

Çelik served as vice dean of his faculty in the 2012-2013 academic year.