The Higher Education Board (YÖK) yesterday vetoed the rector candidacy of the wives of incumbent rectors at two universities, saying their appointment could raise suspicions of favoritism at institutions of higher education.
The wives of the incumbent rectors at Dicle and Uludağ universities received the most votes in elections held recently by universities to determine new rector candidates. However, YÖK decided yesterday that Merih Yurtkuran and Naime Canoruç would not be included on a list of rector candidates for the universities as their appointment could trigger a debate over nepotism and favoritism.
Certain academics had previously claimed that most university rectors are re-elected because of favoritism. They said many rectors appoint assistant professors and professors to positions of authority regardless of their qualifications so that when election time comes these appointees will re-elect them.
They also stated that some incumbent rectors who cannot be re-elected since they have already served two consecutive terms, totaling eight years, promote their wives as rector candidates, pointing to the fact that rector of Dicle University Fikri Canoruç and rector of Uludağ University Mustafa Yurtkuran had endorsed their wives as candidates. Twenty-one universities, at which the current rectors' terms will expire in August, selected six candidates for rector earlier this week, with interviews of each occurring before the selection. YÖK shortlisted three of these candidates for each university, dropping Merih Yurtkuran and Naime Canoruç from the list. President Abdullah Gül will have the final say on rector appointments.
The universities to receive new rector appointments are Akdeniz, Ankara, Atatürk, Boğaziçi, Cumhuriyet, Çukurova, Dicle, Dokuz Eylül, Ege, Erciyes, Fırat, Gazi, Gaziantep, İnönü, İstanbul Technical, Karadeniz Technical, Middle East Technical, 19 Mayıs, Trakya, Uludağ and Yıldız Technical.
YÖK also vetoed the candidacy of incumbent Gazi University Rector Kadri Yamaç, harshly criticized for his appointments to academic positions at his university. Yamaç had received 366 votes for the post of rector in 2004, and this year he garnered 732 votes, a number which corresponds to the number of his appointments to academic positions. Yamaç was selected as rector in 2004 by then-President Ahmet Necdet Sezer over another professor who had received 1,064 votes, setting off another debate over cronyism. Sezer was known to appoint only people with views similar to his own.
Interviews will start on July 28 for the candidates running for the post of rector for 23 newly established universities. A total of 523 professors have applied for the position of rector at these new universities.
The YÖK decision on vetoing the candidacy of Yamaç has pleased Professor Rıza Ayhan, who is on the rector candidate list for Gazi University. "This is a democratic step. Gazi University is one of the most prominent universities in Turkey," he said.
Ayhan had previously complained that Yamaç was selected as Gazi rector in 2004 by Sezer because the two shared similar views. "I garnered more votes than Yamaç in elections, but was not selected as rector. Yamaç was selected over me though I received 1,064 votes, while Yamaç received only 366. Favoritism plays an important role in rector elections," he had noted at the time. Ayhan said yesterday he hopes the YÖK decision will bring peace to Gazi University. "Our university needs peace. I hope we will reinstate peace at Gazi University and see better days ahead," he added.
Last Mod: 23 Temmuz 2008, 08:49