Acrinomy continues to swirl around the resignation of former Tel Aviv University president Zvi Galil three weeks ago as the university management yesterday accused him of failing as a manager and fundraiser.
Galil, who quit unexpectedly after only two years in office, said he had been forced out because he wasn't a member of the new "business elite" dominating the university. Faculty sources said his departure could be attributed to his tense relations with the management committee.
"Galil was an administrative failure," Tel Aviv University Executive Council chairperson Dr. Leora Meridor said yesterday. "TAU is in a difficult situation. We didn't have the privilege of waiting three years until someone else came and took over the management."
But Galil insisted that he had made "no administrative gaffe" and had nothing to hide.
"My presidency crashed because I wasn't part of the business elite," he said.
Galil's ouster led to a confrontation between the university faculty, which sees the affair as a reflection of the businesspeople's increased power on the executive board, and Meridor and her colleagues.
Meridor dismissed claims that businesspeople are taking over the university. "Academic freedom is extremely important to me, but this incident has nothing to do with it. It's about to management skills," she said.
A panel comprised of professors from all the nation's universities is demanding an explanation of Galil's resignation.
"When a president ends his term with 24 hours' notice, the matter deserves a proper explanation," the universities' Inter-Senate Committee for the Defense of Academic Independence stated.
The committee expressed fears of the excessive authority that the Finance Ministry was giving the universities' management committees, many of whose members were "alien to the university experience of research and teaching."
Sources said that some of the executive council members had recently expressed their lack of confidence in Galil's fundraising capabilities. Galil, a world-leading expert in computer sciences and a member of the computer science faculty of Columbia University in New York since 1982, said his positions in the past two years raised the executive committee's objections.
"I said the executive committee cannot determine its own scope of power. That's the core of the struggle - who controls the university," Galil said.
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