Former University of Indonesia rector Prof. Gumilar Rusliwa Somantri is running for another term as the institute’s head administrator, despite being removed from the position following protests by students calling for his resignation.
Gumilar made it official on Saturday when he formally registered with the university’s rector election committee.
He said that his goal in seeking the post was to improve the quality of education offered by the Jakarta university, which is considered to be the top institute 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 university with better quality,” he said.
With a large pool of candidates vying for the post, Gumilar said the election, to be held by October, would be a good example of democracy in action.
“This will certainly bring colors. I hope the democratic process can run well,” he said.
Regarding his re-election chances, Gumilar said that he was prepared to accept both victory and defeat, and that competence should be the defining characteristic of the new rector.
“Getting re-elected or not, only God can decide,” he said.
He added that to lead UI, a strong team comprising deputy rectors, directors, deans and department heads is essential. The team must also posses qualities such as being reform-minded, objective and hard-working to transform the university into one with an international reputation.
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 resign. He had come into frequent conflict with students and lecturers over his running of the university.
Gumilar 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 corruption.
He was formally replaced by Djoko Santoso, the ministry’s director general of higher education, during a ceremony at the ministry.
Mohammad Nuh, the education and culture minister, said that Djoko was appointed to the position partly due to his prior academic success at the Bandung Institute of Technology.
“The appointment of UI’s acting rector should be painstakingly done and should respect the university,” Nuh said. “He [Djoko] is not just an ordinary official.”
Nuh said he expected that the university would elect a new rector by October.
Djoko said that Gumilar could run for the post if he wanted.
“There is a process in place,” he said. “Let it proceed. All citizens have the right to register,” he said.