The Council for Higher Education decided Tuesday against shutting down the Political Science Department at the Ben Gurion University,
thereby retracting its previous decision on the matter.
Some two years ago, a professional committee commissioned by the council asserted that the university's department was politically slanted to the Left, failed to expose students to all points of view, possessed too few faculty members and offered low quality research and teaching.
The committee thus recommended
that the department be shut down.
According to the CHE, since the report was published, the department failed to broaden its research approaches in a manner that reflects a more pluralistic spectrum, leading the council to order the department to no longer admit new students.
The decision to close the department stirred a heated public debate, and University President Prof. Rivka Carmi sent
a letter to the CHE, branding the council's decision as unreasonable and unbalanced.
On Tuesday, the council decided to overturn
the decision and recommend that new students be admitted to the program next year, provided that the faculty hire an additional two or three faculty members by the end of the year.
The Ben Gurion University student council lauded the decision, stating that had it come into effect, it would have "severely damaged the students."
Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg,
a PhD candidate at the department, told Ynet: "The decision today uncovered the fact that the attempts to shut down the department were driven by political interests and had nothing to do with academic achievements.
"Moreover, the efforts to close the department backfired at those who vigorously advocated its closing, once the academic excellence and professional conduct of the department became clear."
The university directorate refused to comment, insisting that no official statement has been issued as of yet.
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