The Council for Higher Education in Israel
will reconsider its decision to shut down the Political Science Department at the Ben Gurion University,
following a letter of appeal sent by Professor Rivka Carmi,
the university's president.
Last year, the Council for Higher Education (CHE) appointed an international committee, headed by Professor Thomas Risse from the Free University in Berlin,
to examine the department.
The committee recommended that the department be shut down due to the radical left-wing views of some of the faculty members, and what they perceived to be an imbalance between personal politics and the curriculum.
Moreover, the committee stated that the department possessed too few faculty members, and low quality research and teaching.
According to the CHE, ever since the report was published, the department has failed to broaden its research approaches in a manner that reflects a more pluralistic spectrum.
Chairman of the Lobby for Students, MK Alex Miller (Yisrael Beiteinu), criticized the CHE's decision to reexamine the case, saying that "changing the decision would change the system of supervision of higher education in Israel. The goal of the supervision is to improve the existing system, and it seems that the department has disregarded the report's conclusions and failed to alter its conduct according to the findings."
MK miller added that "canceling the sanctions that were set might lead to a dangerous precedent, which may render the supervising committee redundant in the future, and damage the system of higher education."
Representatives of the university are nevertheless convinced they will succeed in preventing the shutting down of the department on the October 30 hearing. "We hope that the committee changes its decision to close the department. The university maintains its right to go before an extended committee of the Council for Higher Education for further discussion of the issue," the university statement read.
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