[spectre] (fwd) Istanbul Bilgi University VCD: Sued and Sacked

Andreas Broeckmann ab at dortmunder-u.de
Thu Jan 13 14:04:50 CET 2011

Subject: Istanbul Bilgi University VCD: Sued and Sacked
From: Ahmet ATIF AKIN <atifakin at gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2011 21:06:25 +0200

Dear Collegues,

We'd like to inform you about the recent 
developments regarding our former department and 
the executives.
On the 3rd of January 2011 we are sacked and sued 
by I™stanbul Bilgi University, with the head of 
the department and the program coordinator. The 
accusation is evaluating a senior project with 
sexual content.
You may follow the issue from some international press as well.


Also university put a charge on the prosecution 
now and now we are dealing with the legal issues 
and lawyers not to be sentenced on legal court.

Attached you will find a document with detailed 
logs of the event and our final comments.
Finally, also we would lie to assure you for our 
future collaborations not under the name of Bilgi 
but with the same people, know how and the spirit.

Kind regards,

Prof. Dr. Ihsan Derman
Ali Peks¸en, MA
Ahmet Atif Akin, MSc.

Dear Colleagues,

We would like to inform you about the recent 
situation at the Visual Communication Design and
Photography and Video Departments in Istanbul Bilgi University.

In the academic year of 2009-2010, one of our 
Photography and Video students proposed a
video project with a sexual content based on the 
premise that amateur porn movies are often
professional productions which simulate the look 
of amateur, individual and/or homemade
movies. He produced the amateur looking movie 
with sexual content showing the backstage of
the set at the end of the movie proving hat there 
is professional production equipment and crew
behind it. The final project submitted was found 
unsatisfactory in terms of conceptual statement
and production quality, thus the student failed 
the course. Following semester he received a
grade D (pass on probation) and graduated on account of cumulative GPA.

Six months after the student's graduation a 
Turkish weekly magazine named Tempo published
an interview regarding this thesis project and 
then mass media attention followed. On the
evening of January 2, two days after the Tempo 
report, with the instruction of the Rectorate,
the General Secretariat forced students and 
academics to leave their offices in the E1 
escorted by security guards. Access to the 
building was blocked and the university's 
team changed the locks of all offices, 
laboratories and studios in the building without 
consent or prior notice. No state police officers 
were present during the university officers'
invasion. At the same time, department websites 
and students' servers were shut down. The
Dean's office sent an e-mail announcement that 
the office locks had been changed and staff
working in the E1 building may not enter the 
building without any further explanation.

On January 3rd, the Rectorate sent an e-mail to 
the academic staff announcing that three
instructors were dismissed from their posts based 
on the Tempo magazine report and that a
criminal complaint about them had been lodged 
with the Prosecution Office . Names of the
dismissed staff were not mentioned in the e-mail. 
They are Prof. Dr. ?hsan Derman, Head of the
Visual Communication Design Department, Ali 
Pek?en, Coordinator of the Photography and
Video Program and Ahmet Atžf Akžn, Project Course 
Senior Coordinator. None of the instructors
were given an explanation by the university 
administration, nor the right to defend themselves
before or during the incident. The following day, 
the police were involved in the situation, their
offices were searched, and computer hard drives were copied.

We believe that in an academic environment, 
research topics should not be restricted. The
duty of an academic advisor is not to censor the 
subject of the work but rather to assess the
said topic within the related research field and 
to guide the student to contextualize it. 
from university, moreover prosecution can never 
be legitimized and excused in the context of an
independent academic environment.

Today as we are confronted with a business mind 
not only merely disregarding academic
careers and the personal rights of academics, who 
invested their time and knowledge in
hundreds of students, but also violating the 
fundamental principles of a university founded on
the premise of 'freedom of knowledge', we invite 
you, as freinds and the institutional partners of
Istanbul Bilgi University and the Visual 
Communication Design Department to support us in 

It is impossible to think this occasion is 
independent of the neo-conservative trend in our
country. As the academia is forced to challenge 
in between higher education council in Turkey,
Bologna Process in Europe, and neo conservative 
finance capitalization of Istanbul we are
concerned to see more of these ocaasions in the near future.

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