Filed under: college | Tags: bilgi university, freedom of expression, porn scandal
I remember those great days: Bilgi University was “the brave institution” to dare doing “non-thinkable”. They admitted students with headscarves before the debate even started in Turkey. They opened original majors and departments within their various schools, and it encouraged many others to do so. They hosted the Armenian Genocide Conference in 2005 in their campus when the government openly opposed it. Bilgi was once known for being bold, respectful to different voices, and even supportive to them.
Now those days are over. They are still admitting students with headscarves, but this is no longer an act of boldness. They are closing down “original” departments for economic constraints. After the last “porn scandal”, they also fired two academics that approved a porn movie as a graduation project. The university administration, after the newspapers found about the scandal, under the immense pressure of the parents, declared that they are investigating the “unfortunate event”.
Bilgi became that interesting university that acts according to the “parents” which can also be interpreted as “the customers” since they are paying the tuition. Bilgi is trying to become just “another private university” in the unnecessarily crowded academic environment, although at the beginning it acquired a lot of respect and reputation despite its short history. Bilgi clearly cannot stand freedom of expression, academia, and information. Bilgi just disappointed many academics as well as many future ones.
When those “parents” complained, saying “So What?” would have been more precious than saying “Yes Sir!” Too bad to see, with the new administration, another higher education institution lost “it” in Turkey.