Dicky Christanto and Ni Komang Erviani , The Jakarta Post , Denpasar | Sat, 09/20/2008 11:36 AM | Bali
Denpasar Police Chief Sr. Comr. Alit Widana said on Friday his subordinates were questioning several witnesses following a report of vandalism at Bali’s Indonesian Art Institute (ISI).
Widana said the questioning may result in naming a suspect if police found solid evidence.
“If we have enough evidence, we will continue by questioning those students who were involved,” he said.
The police have a video camera recording showing students fastening a note to the door of the current rector’s office urging him to step down, Alit said.
The students were also nailing two wooden planks to the door, preventing access to the building.
Ketut Murdana and several lecturers reported the case to Denpasar City Police on Thursday. He said he could no longer tolerate what students had done.
Thousands of ISI students and lecturers have been spending their time outside the rector’s office building instead of attending or conducting classes.
Commenting on the report, ISI Design School student organization chairman Ketut Ngurah Aryawan said he regretted the report.
“As a father figure, it is very inappropriate for him to file a report against his students,” he said.
Murdana should not see the sealing of the campus door as a crime, he said. The students did this because they were desperate with the campus authority’s unwillingness to organize dialogues with lecturers and students over the new rector election dispute, he said.
One of the ISI lecturers, Wayan Kun Adnyana, said students had damaged nothing.
“The police report is baseless because the students have done nothing but protest against the current rector’s stance in this case,” Wayan said.
The lecturers had vowed to assist the students in facing the report and any consequences that followed, such as the questioning process, he added.
The ISI dispute started when an ISI lecturer, Nyoman Catra, gained a landslide win in an election for a new rector, defeating incumbent rector Wayan Rai.
In August, however, Rai claimed he had been ordered to organize another election in a decree from the Education Ministry that annulled the past election results.
Rai had then disbanded the institute’s senate and formed a new one by appointing his own supporters while ignoring protests from students and lecturers who said the decree was a hoax.
Fully backed by ministry officials, Rai continued his plan by conducting another election on Aug. 26, which came with a predictable result as Rai was reelected for a second time.
Suspecting peculiarities in the election process, thousands of students and lecturers who had taken sides with Nyoman Catra held a series of mass rallies at their campus.
They demanded Rai step down and relinquish his post to Catra who they said was the rightful winner of the election.