Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – The Indonesian Caucus for Academic Freedom (KIKA) member, Robertus Robet, slammed the Rectorate of the University of Indonesia (UI) for summoning the university's Student Executive Body (BEM UI) after criticizing President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo via social media.
Robet opined that the rectorate should not act like it was in the New Order Era. "UI leaders, stop creating impressions, feelings as if this is the New Order Era," said Robet in a written statement on Sunday, June 27.
Robet said even though the government was concerned about the post, university leaders should play a role as educators and academics. "Not as the apparatus in power. Let alone this is the era of democracy," said the lecturer of sociology at the Jakarta State University (UNJ).
Criticism in the form of mockery and such have indeed caused discomfort, Robet said. However, that must not be responded to repressively. "As long as it is criticism, let alone it is voiced by students, it must not be responded to in a repressive fashion, let alone by imposing sanctions," he underlined.
On Sunday, June 27, BEM UI voiced criticism against the President through memes on its Instagram post, naming the state head as the King of Lip Service.
The UI's Head of Public Relations and Information Disclosure, Amelita Lusia, said the post violated the university regulations. She acknowledged that the freedom to express opinions is protected by law, yet it must comply with applicable regulations.
However, Amelita stopped short of detailing which regulations were violated by BEM UI. "The summon is part of the student development process at UI," she said on Sunday, June 27.
The BEM UI Head Leon Alvinda Putra, meanwhile, said he would not delete the 'Jokowi The King of Lip Service' post. He argued it was a form of criticism based on arguments and data. "We will defend the post that is a form of our criticism because we also have the basis," Leon told Tempo on Sunday.