Indonesian University Rector Dispute Intensifies

Student and faculty protests against the rector of Satya Wacana Christian University in Java have escalated in the wake of his dismissal of a nationally prominent prodemocracy faculty member last year.

Criticism of the rector, John Ihalauw, who was hired two years ago, has intensified since he dismissed Aries Budiman for his outspoken prodemocracy activities.

Ihalauw has suspended more than 60 faculty members for one to two months for their public protests of the dismissal and what they say was the authoritarian manner in which it was executed.

Demonstrations became so serious that the university, with an enrollment of 6,000 students, shut down for several days.

In a September protest, police arrested three students on charges of damaging the university's administration building. The ongoing skirmish has affected both enrollment and income at the university, interrupting some salary payments.

In response, the interdenominational school's sponsoring denominations formed a special five-member committee to resolve the conflict.

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