Hacettepe University Queer Studies Society (Hacettepe Üniversitesi Kuir Araştırmaları Topluluğu), founded in 2014, has been closed by Hacettepe University for its presentation at the online orientation held this year. As a reason for the prohibition the university administration cited the unlawful ban on LGBTI+ activities implemented by Ankara Governorship in 2017-2018 across Ankara.
89 Clubs Approved, LGBTI+ Community Banned
Queer Studies Society prepared a video for Hacettepe University’s online orientation activities like all other groups. The video to be published within the scope of the 2020-2021 Fall term orientation was requested by the university. Although the Queer Studies Society duly prepared the video and delivered it on time, the video was not released.
The Cultural Affairs Directorate, affiliated to the Health, Culture and Sports Department, uploaded the promotional videos of 89 clubs and societies to the relevant site; however, the video of the Queer Studies Society was not uploaded.
“LGBTI+ Activities Are Against Public Morality”
The request from the Queer Studies Society for information on the subject was not answered. Following the contact of the group’s attorney -with the administration-, it was learned that the Ankara Governorship’s ban on LGBTI+ activities was presented as a justification for censorship of students. (You can read our study on how the relevant ban decision affects campuses here.)
The group made the following statement: “The governor’s unlawful decision is based on the state of emergency law and irrational grounds such as LGBTI activities will openly incite the public to hatred and hostility, endanger general health, general morality and the fundamental rights and freedoms of others, and has been registered with a court decision. We do not accept the censorship imposed by the Hacettepe University Rectorate based on the annulled unlawful ban.“
“We call out to the Rectorate of Hacettepe University!”
The decision was reacted as follows: “You clearly discriminate between your students, violate fundamental rights, and fundamentally contradict the ethical principles you claim to uphold. We reject your administration style that discriminates between students, where academic freedom is destroyed and human rights are disregarded.“
Call for Solidarity
The Queer Studies Society has called for solidarity: “We’re announcing here! We will not remain silent against your consistent pressure and censorship policy that has been maintained for years. We will fight for our rights publicly and before the judiciary. We call on all our student friends, academics and the public, who are in favor of human rights and equality, to elevate our voices and support our fight.”