05/02/2021 | Writer: Yiğit E Korkmaz
“We insistently demand the re-opening of the club and establishment of a basis for students to allow them on their activities.”
Boğaziçi University Sexual Harassment Prevention Commission (CİTÖK) issued a statement regarding the smear campaigns against LGBTI+'s and the closure of the Boğaziçi University LGBTI+ Studies Club.
CİTÖK explained the searches at the club rooms of BÜKAK and BÜLGBTİ+, which were not related to the exhibition, and the subsequent process. Stating that the decision to close BÜLGBTİ+ was taken illegally, CİTÖK said:
"We condemn this anti-democratic and illegitimate process and any approach that targets LGBTI+'s, and we demand the re-opening of the club and establishment of a basis for students to allow them on their activities."
The whole statement is as follows:
On Friday, January 29, the police searched the joint club room of BUKAK and BÜLGBTI+ clubs, which both had nothing to do with the exhibition, on the basis of a group exhibition opened by students in the South Square of Boğaziçi University campus. A report was drawn up regarding the search made by the building supervisor, security guards and police under the supervision of the Protection and Security Branch Manager without informing the club members and club professors. On Monday, February 1, it was revealed that the door lock of the club room was changed and club members were prevented from entering the room.
In the same night, a letter with the signature of the rector Melih Bulu, who was appointed with a tweet by the Presidency's Director of Communications, was shared with the public; it was announced that "illegal publications were seized" in the club and the candidate status of the BÜLGBTİ+ Studies Club was terminated due to the "organization of activities without permission". Melih Bulu's official letter was sent to club members and relevant people only after the social media post.
First of all, it should be noted that although the exhibition in question was not organized by the BÜLGBTI+ club, an unjustified search was made in the common room of the two clubs, citing the content of a work in the exhibition.
The second important issue is that the decision to terminate the status of a candidate club is taken without following any of the processes in accordance with the regulations, instructions and practices of Boğaziçi University. Non-democratic practices, which started by locking the door of the club and preventing its activities on a level that is reaching to psychological violence, continued with the complete closure of the club in an illegal manner. In accordance with the relevant processes, when there is a complaint about a club or an irregularity is detected in its activities, the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs takes the opinion of the Inter-Clubs Board (KAK) and the complaint or determination about the club in question is forwarded to the Student Activities Coordination Board (ÖFKK). The result of the investigation made by the ÖFKK is sent to the University Executive Board (UYK) through the Dean of Student Affairs. The University Executive Board, of which the Rector is also a member, makes the final decision on the subject. The existence of each of these commissions, boards, directives and regulations is essential for the functioning of democratic, pluralistic, accountable and transparent mechanisms, and to prevent the operation within the university from being carried out within a fascist framework. However, in the incident, Melih Bulu made the decision about the BÜLGBTI+ alone and prevented the process at the university from functioning.
As a result, we, as the Sexual Harassment Prevention Commission (CİTÖK), condemn this anti-democratic and illegitimate process and any anti-LGBTI+ attitude, and we insistently demand the re-opening of the club and establishment of a basis for students to allow them on their activities.
Boğaziçi University Sexual Harassment Prevention Commission
Tags: human rights, education