Professor Rivka Carmi
Photo: Yair Sagi, Yedioth Ahronoth
Ben Gurion University
Photo: Herzl Yosef
BGU vows to fight attempts to close political science dept
University says Council for Higher Education is unreasonable in its quest to shut down 'leftist' department
The Ben Gurion University on Sunday blasted the Council for Higher Education for seeking to shut down the school's political science department, vowing to fight the bid with all its might.  


In a harsh letter sent to the CHE, Professor Rivka Carmi, president of the university, branded the council's recommendation against allowing the program to accept any new students in the next academic year as an unreasonable and unbalanced decision.


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"The university will act with all its might to ensure that these unworthy recommendations are not approved," the letter read. "We will fight to protect the academic freedom within Israel's higher education system from the black day when academic studies are threatened due to extrinsic and unworthy motives."  


The letter was also signed by Professor Zvi Hacohen, the school's rector, and Professor David Newman, the dean of social sciences and humanities.


The wrangling between Ben Gurion and the CHE began more than a year ago, when a professional committee commissioned by the council asserted that the university's political science department is slanted to the Left and fails to expose students to all points of view.


Professor Hacohen told Ynet that the department has since applied the committee's recommendations, including increasing the size of the faculty and expanding the core curriculum.  


"We don’t intend to ignore this issue," he said. "Israel is still a law-abiding state, and we intend to go as far as requesting the state comptroller to look into the way decisions are made at the CHE." 


The university officials stressed that they're proud of the members of the institution's faculty, and won't allow the staff or the students to be harmed. 


"The program will begin this year as it should, and all students, including those who are starting their studies this year, will be able to continue their studies as planned," the school said.  


No comment was obtained from the Council for Higher Learning.




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