The Jakarta Post
Semarang State University (Unnes) in Central Java has suspended a student for six months after he reported the university's rector to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for alleged graft.
Unnes Law School student Frans Napitu filed the report in person at the KPK headquarters in Jakarta on Friday, claiming that he had found irregularities in the university's budget financed from student funds and other sources before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Frans also handed over detailed documents and supporting evidence to the KPK in the hope that the latter would look into the matter, kompas.com reported.
However, the university sent a letter to Frans' parents on the following Monday, announcing that the student, who is currently in his ninth semester, was suspended for six months and would be evaluated for “moral and character guidance.”
Rodiyah, the dean of Unnes Law School, who signed the letter, claimed Frans had been suspended on the grounds of activities that had violated student ethics and tarnished the university's reputation, including involvement with the Free Papua Movement (OPM).
In a statement published on Wednesday, the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) and its 17 chapters across the country criticized the suspension, calling it “antidemocratic” in nature.
“Frans Napitu’s report to the KPK is a form of student participation in an effort to realize a clean academic system with integrity,” the YLBHI said in a statement.
The YLBHI also said that allegations that Frans supported the OPM were baseless and had only been made up to justify the university's decision to suspend Frans, which the group believed was solely because he had reported the rector for alleged graft.
“As an academic institution, Unnes should support its students’ freedom of thought instead of abusing its powers to intimidate that very freedom, suspending or even expelling students for bogus reasons, the YLBHI said.
The group further called for the Witness and Victims Protection Agency as well as the KPK to protect Frans in line with Article 15 of the 2019 KPK Law, which stipulates that the commission must protect eyewitnesses and whistleblowers in corruption cases.
KPK deputy chairman Nurul Ghufron chided the university for suspending Frans, saying that anyone had the right to report possible corruption to the KPK.
Citing Article 41 of the KPK Law, Ghufron said any member of the public could participate in corruption eradication efforts.
“It is regrettable that a civil servant reprimanded someone for taking part in corruption eradication efforts,” Ghufron said on Monday.
Separately, Unnes rector Fathur Rokhman rejected the corruption allegation.
“The inspectorate general of the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education and the Supreme Audit Agency conduct regular monitoring and evaluation of our campus every year. Of course, we've followed the government directions for sound management,” Fathur said on Tuesday, kompas.com reported.
Frans expressed disappointment over the university's decision.
He admitted to having joined the movement to support Papuans in their protests against racism but said he had never been politically involved with the OPM, arguing that the allegations against him were only a ploy to stifle his criticism.
"We will demand that [the university] revoke the decree on my suspension and focus on the substance [of the report filed with the KPK]," he said.