Academics are warning of more turmoil at the University of Indonesia after the dean of the medical school was removed by the rector, reportedly for spearheading an antigraft movement targeted at him.
Hundreds of students and faculty members rallied at the country’s biggest and oldest university on Tuesday to protest the decision a day earlier by the rector, Gumilar Soemantri, to send Ratna Sitompul back to the Health Ministry.
Biran Affandi, chairman of the UI Council of Professors, said Gumilar had acted inconsistently in refusing to extend Ratna’s tenure, while approving extensions for the deans of the university’s other schools.
Biran called the decision a violation of academic ethics and an aberration of good governance.
“We also feel that the rector has ignored us in not informing us earlier about this strategic decision,” he said.
Ratna, whose term in office expired in April but who had been nominated by the professors’ council and the university senate for an extension, was informed that she was being let go on Monday afternoon.
Siane Indriani, a university spokeswoman, denied claims that Gumilar had refused to renew Ratna’s tenure because of her position as chairwoman of UI Bersih, a movement that has raised allegations of graft and misuse of authority in the rector’s office.
Ade Armando, a spokesman for UI Bersih, suggested that by getting rid of Ratna, Gumilar was seeking to remove any obstacles to his bid for re-election as rector later this year.
Responding to the decision, Ratna warned that replacing her with Priyo Sidipratomo, chairman of the Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) and a professor at the medical school, would cause a rift within the school. “I realize I wasn’t going to be the dean for life, but the way this was done was very regrettable,” she said