The rector's office of Ankara's Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) has announced that this year's graduation ceremony will not be held at its usual location, the Devrim (Revolution) Stadium. It said that every faculty would hold its own graduation ceremony at its own premises.
In an email sent to students and academics, the rector's office said the decision was taken “on the grounds of security.” “We have received information that a ceremony planned to be held at the Stadium might lead to factionalism and that different groups will turn our ceremony area into an area of protest in line with their own purposes,” read the email.
It said that “such negative developments” had pushed the management to try to find “new solutions.”
It further argued that during the ceremonies held in previous years, “some developments that disrupted the ceremony's flow and order” had occurred, and these had caused the ceremony to last for longer than planned.
ODTÜ's graduation ceremonies are known with newly grads giving various messages about social issues with banners. In 2019, during the last official graduation ceremony held at the stadium, ODTÜ students' banners about the decisive victory of Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu had left a mark on the ceremony. Since then, the rector's office has canceled the ceremony at Devrim Stadium citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
The stadium is known as “Devrim” because some students in 1971 inscribed the word in giant letters with bleachers on its stands. The tradition was repeated annually during the university spring festival until recently. But not only it is still there, it has named the stadium and it is ODTÜ's unofficial motto.