[EDITORIALS]Students hurt if teachers runA total of 68 university professors are running as candidates either for electoral districts or proportional representation seats of the 17th National Assembly. While the ratio of professors among candidates for the 13th Assembly election was a mere 2.2 percent, this election sees 5.8 percent.
There is no reason to see their participation in politics negatively, if we consider that their academic experience and research results can contribute to the development of the country. But the difficulties universities and students suffer from their decision to run in the elections must be sorted out.
Professors’ participation in political activities is protected by law. University faculty members are eligible for party membership and they can run in elections in their capacities as professors if they choose.
There are many who serve, while on a leave of absence from their universities, in the legislature or the administration and then go back to their campus jobs. There are also people who cross between the political and academic worlds so frequently that people get confused about whether they are professors or politicians. Students and other professors in their universities stage protests denouncing them as “pro-government” or “quasi-scholar.”
What is happening in universities now is not normal. Professors running in the legislative elections are maintaining their positions as professors. As a result, it is students who suffer.
It is absurd that professors give students homework that can’t be finished in a month and then suddenly declare candidacy in an election, or skip lectures indefinitely. The harm done to students who are deprived of lectures is great, and it is difficult for universities to employ alternative lecturers, because it is in the middle of a school semester.
The professors who run in the elections must have made up their minds a long time ago. If they refrained from accepting lectures, then they did the right thing. Deciding to run in an election after accepting teaching duties is nothing but a cunning calculation to return to the university in the event they lose.
It is better to resign from a university or apply for a leave of absence if one feels the need to become a candidate.