Lawmakers Ready to Wade Into Dispute Over UI Dismissals
The House of Representatives has asked the Ministry of Education and University of Indonesia rector Gumilar Soemantri to explain the dismissal of eight deans at the university. A hearing is scheduled after the House recess ends next month.
Gumilar, who has been criticized by students and professors at the university over controversies ranging from sharp increases in tuition fees to the illegal sale of university properties and allegations of corruption, dismissed eight deans and the chairman of the university’s postgraduate programs earlier this week.
He said the decision to do so had been made by the board of trustees at their meeting last week — the same meeting at which the board decided that Gumilar’s term would end on Aug. 14.
Agus Hermanto, chairman of House Commission X, which oversees education, said he thought lawmakers should begin by summoning Education Minister Mohammad Nuh.
“This is a crucial matter, so please come up with the best and fairest solution,” he said.
Nuh, a member of the board of trustees, said Gumilar had misinterpreted a decree of the board and ignored the need to hold elections for the posts before the deans could be dismissed. Nuh also said he would appoint a senior official from his ministry to serve as acting rector of the university once Gumilar’s term ends, but did not reveal who the replacement would be.
The eight deans and the postgraduate program chairman have filed a “motion of no confidence” with the education ministry, protesting their dismissals as another example of Gumilar’s “dictatorial” leadership. The university’s student council also protested the rector’s “dictatorship,” asking that the Education Ministry immediately appoint an acting rector to replace Gumilar before a new one was elected.
Gumilar, who became rector in 2007, provoked a firestorm of criticism in September 2011 when he awarded an honorary doctorate to Saudi King Abdullah, soon after a string of horrific abuse cases involving Indonesian domestic workers in Saudi Arabia.