Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Dean's New Job: Social Media Surveillance

On March 4, GIT - North America presented a special dossier on students and the hardships, violence, imprisonment that they were subjected to as part of the government's "Discipline and Punish" campaign against dissidents. To see a full account of this issue please visit

Similarly, we had also reported before various grievances against students, including the case of Mikail Boz who was suspended from school for criticizing the lack of transparency in appointing a Dean to the School of Communication at Marmara University.

The same Dean figures as the main protagonist in the satirical story below, translated from the Students Collective website by GIT - North America:

"Marmara University College of Communication Dean Yusuf Devran, whose name became well-known for suspending Communication senior Mikail Boz from University for 6 months because he [Mikail Boz] had criticized his becoming dean so fast, has now begun sleuthing.

Yusuf Devran, whose credentials include plenty of references from AKP and Samanyolu TV [Fethullah Gülen's media flagship and examples of its journalism from the paper version was covered here in fn.3. and the TV version here on GIT - North America], was promoted very fast into full professorship and then appointed as Dean at Marmara University. Mikail Boz criticized the lack of transparency in this promotion process on social media [urban-dictionary-like] Sour Dictionary/Ekşi Sözlük, and subsequently, was suspended from the university for a semester by Dean Devran. Following the public reaction to this sanction, the president of the University reduced Mikail Boz's suspension time to one week.

In a defensive statement he later made to the daily Hürriyet, Yusuf Devran had pointed at the invisible dark forces plotting against him (!) and said "somebody is cooking up against me through this young man. This is an organized plot [against me]." As such, following his academically informed communication premonitions, Yusuf Devran has been on the trail [of his critiques] for a while now.

After the column written by Ezgi Başaran [1], journalist in the daily Radikal, entitled "Should Marmara Communication 'end up like this?'," Yusuf Devran has apparently finally put all the pieces in his head together, and due to his special interest in the social media, he seems to have stumbled upon those dark forces while strolling through university students' Facebook profiles.

Isolating journalist Ezgi Başaran's name on student exchanges on Facebook to put Marmara College of Communication students and alumni in touch [because Başaran is also an alumna of the same school], Yusuf Devran announced this achievement on his personal profile page. Clearly under the influence of the distorted indictments lately issued by AKP law enforcement and prosecutors, Yusuf Devran managed to deduce from these student FB exchanges that it was the students who plotted against him and sent his article [criticized by Başaran as shallow and rudimentary] to her. Thus, even though it is possible to clearly see what the student exchanges on their Facebook accounts were actually all about, the Dean proudly exposes their intentions to 'denigrate' him.

Zero tolerance to criticism

Just like his intolerance to Mikail Boz's criticism, Yusuf Devran also couldn't take the Ezgi Başaran's panning and he doesn't hide the fact that he profiles his students and holds records [through tracking their posts and exchanges on the social media]. Even though he is a person of science, and the Dean of the College of Communication, Yusuf Devran publicly shared snapshots he took of the personal exchanges written by the students in his school. Actually, with such acts of intolerance that follow one after another, Yusuf Devran only proved how worthy he is to the chair he was placed by AKP.

Following Devran's latest 'academic' work, we are awaiting with curiosity what other news of investigation and sanction will come out of this issue."

To read the piece in Turkish and see Dean Devran's Facebook post exposing the students' personal exchanges, please visit:

To read Ezgi Başaran's piece in Turkish, please visit:

[1] Translator's note: After Başaran wrote a critical column on his work written and published in English, Devran first claimed Başaran's English was insufficient and therefore implied she misrepresented his work by translating it badly into Turkish. Following Başaran's posting of the original pages from his article, only to show how correct her translation and evaluation of his work were, Dean Devran shifted his attention from Başaran to the students and implied that they are the culprit who plotted against him by sending the article to Başaran with bad intentions. It is not clear however, why he never questions if the academic quality of his analysis in that article were high as he argues and not shallow as Ezgi Başaran denotes, why it would be a problem for anyone to share an article with someone. Actually, regardless of the quality of a work, how such an act illustrates a dark plot is a mystery. One thing is certain though: Dean Devran is watching.