Prof. Dr. Naci İnci, the appointed rector of Istanbul's prestigious Boğaziçi University, has dismissed the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Prof. Dr. Özlem Berk Albachten, the dean of the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences Prof. Dr. R. Metin Ercan, and the dean of the Faculty of Education Prof. Dr. Yasemin Bayyurt. Three deans were elected by the university's academics before İnci was appointed to the post in August 2021.
According to a statement released by the Boğaziçi University Academics, the decision was taken at a meeting of the Council of Higher Education (YÖK) and was notified to the deans via the electronic document system. However, İnci did not include the decision of the YÖK meeting in the letter he sent to the deans; therefore, the reason for the dismissals was not initially disclosed to the deans, online news outlet Diken reported on Jan. 19.
All three deans were taking part in protests to advocate for an independent university.
On Jan. 20, İnci said that the deans were dismissed by YÖK as a result of "disciplinary" investigations launched against them.
“Appointments will be made as soon as possible to replace the dismissed deans. Boğaziçi University will maintain its academic quality diligently from now on, as it has done so far, and will do whatever is necessary for the healthy functioning of the decision mechanisms,” İnci tweeted on Jan. 20.
Üniversitemizin Eğitim F., Fen Edebiyat F., İktisadi ve İdari Bilimler F. dekanları hakkında görevleri ile ilgili işledikleri disiplin suçları nedeniyle açılan soruşturmalar sonucu, YÖK görevde bulunan üç öğretim üyesinin dekanlık görevinden alınmasına karar vermiştir.+— M. Naci İnci (@MNaciinci) January 20, 2022
After the appointment of Prof. Dr. Melih Bulu as the rector by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in January 2021, the university's students and academics launched a protest demanding his resignation.
Following months-long protest, Bulu was eventually dismissed from his duty by Erdoğan in July 2021. A month later in August, again via a presidential decree, it was İnci who assumed duty as the rector of the prestigious institution despite the high disapproval rates he received on polls held among the community.
Academics and students are continuing with their protest against İnci's appointment. In this process, some students were detained and even stayed behind bars for months.
Boğaziçi academics demand reinstatement of dismissed deans during protest
Meanwhile, several Boğaziçi academics from different departments made a statement about the issue at the campus on Jan. 20 and demanded the dismissed deans’ reinstatement.
They emphasized that their deans were elected with a majority of votes and such removals are unacceptable. They said that these decisions are a continuation of the interventions at the university which have been taking place since Jan. 1, 2021.
“As we have stated many times before, we consider it our duty to inform the public that these interventions have caused great damage to the education and research activities of our university," they said.
They also emphasized that the dismissal of the deans without any legitimate reason is against the law, justice and principles of governance.