Statement by a Sallahaddin University lecturer who has been sacked by the university presidency due to his critical views towards KDP


A Public Statement

I (Rabun Maroof), have been teaching at the department of Philosophy/College of Arts at Salahadin University with a contract for the academic year 2012/2013. Following three months teaching, beyond all legal and institutional procedures, and without providing any formal reasons, even to the head of Philosophy department, as well as without paying any of my wages for that period, was dismissed from my employment by the president of Salahadin University.

In August 2011, after obtaining Bachelor and Master Degrees at the University of Manchester, I returned to Kurdistan to participate in advancing the study of Philosophy and Theology here, as they were my academic fields. The Kurdish Regional Government (the semi-autonomous region of northern Iraq) has many times announced that they would facilitate and support diaspora academics returning to Kurdistan to serve at Kurdistan Regional Universities. Therefore after my return the only expectation I had from the authorities of the region was for them not to interfere with my individual rights as an ordinary citizen and to let me teach students in Kurdistan.

Following consultations with the head of department of the Philosophy/ College of Arts at Salahaddin University in Hawler (Erbil), I entered into a formal contract and started my career as a lecturer at the same department for the academic year 2011/2012. After teaching for one year, the former head of department of Philosophy assessed my performance, concluding that I had made a great contribution to advancing philosophical studies in the department. To develop the department and advance philosophical studies he recommended that I should continue teaching there. Accordingly, the president of Salahaddin University extended my contract to 30/06/2013.

As I have mentioned above, following three months teaching, in mid January without giving me any written notice and without giving any specific or logical reasons, I was given verbal instruction to suspend my teaching. However, according to a formal written request by the head of the Department of Philosophy, the department has the problem of not having enough lecturers, especially on the subjects that I was teaching and it is hard to find an alternative lecturer with the necessary experience. In the same letter, the head of the Department of Philosophy requested the reasons for my dismissal and she reported the reasons as “unknown”. However, the dean of the college and the president of Salahaddin University, without any explanation as to the reasons were persistent in dismissing me. They have dismissed me, even without paying any wages for the past 3 months of my teaching.

When I was a lecturer I was not free from interference and outside pressure, each time for different reasons. The last time it was about my qualifications having not yet been certified by the Ministry of Higher Education as equivalent to the local qualifications. Despite the fact that there is no such condition in either my own or my colleagues’ contracts, since August 2012, I have been trying to get my qualifications certified by the Ministry of Higher Education. The legal department of the University President, the college dean and the head of the philosophy department have all been aware of this process. With the greatest of respect to all of the lecturers within the department of philosophy, there are a number of lecturers in this department who have been employed on a contractual basis and so far none of them have completed the certification process for their qualifications. But I was the only one among them to face this situation. Luckily, by the time of my dismissal I had been informed by the Ministry of Higher Education that certification of my qualifications was nearly complete and they have informed the President of the University of this in a formal written statement. As far as I know, I have been the only one of the new lecturers that has met this requirement. Thus it is clear that this ‘issue’ that I explained as an example, like other ‘issues’ nothing but a ‘political’ pressure ‘by the authorities’ on me.

I, as well as anybody else who understands the nature of the political authority of this region, know what this punishment is really all about. The reality is that I was one of those voices from Hawler (Erbil) who has always strongly criticised the political authority in Kurdistan. My dismissal from Salahaddin University is a political issue and it serves as a punishment for those who openly state the truth ‘about the nature of political system in Kurdistan Region’.

Rabun Maroof