Rector acts on behalf of 8 out of 10 board members after post-coup purges at Turkish university

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A list of board members of Gümüşhane University in Turkey’s Black Sea region, that shows Rector İhsan Günaydın’s photo in place of 8 out of 10 members, went viral on Twitter on Wednesday as Professor Günaydın was made almost the only man in the university administration as a result of purges in Turkish academia following a failed coup attempt on July 15.

Sarcastic tweets by Turkish Twitter users made Gümüşhane University and Professor Günaydın one of the trending topics as some users wrote: “This the pluralism in Turkish universities: Rector appointed himself on seven other positions as deans.”

While some users called the list of Gümüşhane University board members as “a one-man band”, some others said: “Despite many other universities have problems of having divergences, Gümüşhane University has a harmony and accord which is exemplary for other universities.”

After the issue has become a trending topic in Twitter, Gümüşhane University removed the photos of rector Günaydın from the page, however, his name still remained on the page in place of 7 deans of various faculties.

Only two professors, selected by university senate, are seen in Gümüşhane University website other than rector Günaydın as board members out of 10. Günaydın also acts as deans of 7 faculties of Gümüşhane University as the posts are vacant presently.

In a statement from its website, Gümüşhane University said that the posts in social media do not reflect the truth about the university board members. “The university board members consist professors and deans of faculties who are selected according to the concerned law and regulations and appointment accordingly on the approval of Higher Education Board after rector’s proposal,” the statement said.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Tayyip Erdoğan passed a decree ordering the closure of 15 universities and 800 student dorms across Turkey. The shutting down of the universities has left 61,382 students in academic limbo. The same decree also ordered the dismissal of 5,070 academics working at 94 universities across Turkey, including 17 from Gümüşhane University. Some of the academics from various Turkish universities are currently under arrest.

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