Education and Culture Minister Mohammad Nuh has defended a bid by former University of Indonesia rector Gumilar Somantri to seek another term as the prestigious university’s head administrator.
Despite being removed from the position following protests by students calling for his resignation and accusations of corruption from his own staff, Gumilar retains the right to register himself in the rector election, Nuh said.
“Anybody can register themselves to join the election. It depends on the university’s academics, students and board of trustees [MWA],” he said.
As of Monday, there were 23 candidates, including Gumilar, who had passed administrative verification.
Nuh said the university’s MWA would select three candidates from the list for a final selection next month.
“We fully support the election in the hands of the UI community, especially its MWA,” he said.
Gumilar was replaced last month by an official from the Education and Culture Ministry following student protests over his leadership and calls for him to step down. He had come into frequent conflict with students and lecturers over his running of the university.
He was criticized for controversial decisions ranging from sharp increases in tuition fees to the illegal sale of some of the university’s property and allegations of embezzlement in procurement projects.
Last Saturday, however, Gumilar made it official that he would run again for rector when he formally registered with the university’s election committee.
He said his goal in seeking the post was to improve the quality of education offered by the country’s biggest university, which is widely regarded as the top institution of higher education in the country.
“If I get re-elected, it’s not for the power, but it’s to transform UI into a better quality university,” he said.
With a large pool of candidates vying for the post, Gumilar said the election in October would be a good example of democracy in action.
“This will certainly be colorful. I hope the democratic process can run well.”