As Power Struggle Rumbles On, TAU to Choose New President Today

Tel Aviv University's faculty senate and executive council will vote this evening on the candidacy of Joseph Klafter as the school's next president. Various university sources have said it is expected that Klafter will receive the support of most of TAU's senior faculty.

There have been calls among some of the university's teaching staff, however, to use the meeting to raise the issue of the widespread criticism by faculty toward the university's executive council, chaired by Liora Meridor. Faculty members want to discuss their demand that management authority at the university be returned to faculty representatives.

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss yesterday announced that his office would be more closely overseeing the operations of the university following questions raised over the departure of Tel Aviv University's last president, Zvi Galil.

The university senate's vote is to to be immediately followed by a meeting of the university executive council, which is to have the final decision on Klafter's candidacy. The senate vote is seen as a more symbolic approval of the choice of president. If the senate rejects the choice, the executive council is still authorized to install Klafter in the post, but it requires a special larger majority of council members to do so.

The comptroller's office noted yesterday that, based on a preliminary examination of Galil's departure, further inquiry is required on matters including the involvement of business people on the Tel Aviv University executive council, concerns regarding possible faulty decision-making procedures, questions regarding the functioning of the university's search committees and questions regarding plans for university dormitories.

Six of the 11 members of the executive council are "public representatives," primarily business people. "My presidency crashed because of the business elite, of which I was not a member," Galil told Haaretz.

A statement from the executive council said that the investigation by the State Comptroller's office over Galil's departure was welcome to put an end to the controversy.

The chairman of the university's board of governors, Robert Goldberg, in a letter sent to the members of the board of governors on Monday, said the consensus on the part of the heads of the university's friends organizations supporting the university is that the university constitution should be amended to curb the power of the executive council.

Goldberg added that on October 13, most of the heads of the university friends organizations as well as a number of major donors decided to ask Meridor and the executive council members to resign. He also said Klafter's appointment will require the approval of the Board of Governors.