Majority of gov't supporters say university rectors should be elected

A majority of supporters of the government-led People's Alliance believe that university rectors should be elected by faculty staff, according to a recent survey.

Boğaziçi University students hold a banner reading 'We don't want an appointed rector, but an elected rector.'

Aynur Tekin / DUVAR 

A majority of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) voters have said they support the election of university rectors by faculty staff as opposed to a presidential decision, a recent survey carried out by polling company Konda has shown.

Surveyors were asked whether they had any opinion about developments at Turkey’s top Boğaziçi University – where the past two rectors have been appointed by a presidential decision – and 49 percent said they had no opinion.

Nearly 83 percent of those who said they had an opinion about the removal and appointment of rectors at Boğaziçi University said they believed faculty staff should be involved in the election of university directors.

Eighty percent of those surveyed said they thought academics were rightful in opposing to the appointment of rectors.

The survey found that 58 percent of AKP supporters said academic staff should be included in the election of rectors, while 72 percent of the voters of the MHP said the same. The AKP and the MHP make up the People’s Alliance.

Supporters of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) were those that had the most opinion on the developments regarding university elections. Around 69 percent of CHP supporters had an opinion about the issue, while 69 percent of AKP supporters and 53 percent of MHP voters neither had any knowledge or opinion about the developments at Boğaziçi.

Boğaziçi University was at the heart of massive student protests last year. Protests at the university began early last year when Melih Bulu was appointed as rector of the prestigious university with a presidential decision. Students and academics demanded the university be allowed to elect its own director.

In July 2021, Bulu was removed from his post and was later replaced with another appointed rector, Naci İnci. Daily protests have continued since then, with academics carrying out silent demonstrations demanding democratic elections on campus.

Konda carried out the survey with 3,506 people aged above 15 between Feb. 5-6.

(English version by Nihan Kalle)