The new draft law, which was approved by the university a few days ago, defines new mechanisms for electing the university’s director and deans and aims to stop government agencies from interfering in university leadership appointments.
Academics hope this new law will replace the 1995 University of Khartoum Law, which said the executive branch would appoint the university’s director and deans.
Ahmed Abdelgadir, a professor of law at the University of Khartoum, is a member of the committee that prepared the draft law. In a telephone conversation, he told Al-Fanar Media that after the university’s approval, the draft law must go through multiple stages of review by the Ministry of Higher Education and the Ministry of Justice and be approved by the executive branch.
Abdelgadir, who is head of the Public Law Department in the university’s Faculty of Law, said the new legislation, if it is issued, is the only way to get the university out of the political grip that it has suffered for decades, during and after the rule of former President Bashir.
Union members at the university are also demanding that the new draft law guarantee a broader representation of independent union entities on the university council.
Manal Amer, leader of the first independent professors’ union at the University of Khartoum, told Al-Fanar Media that the law currently in force contains “some flawed points, which concentrate broad and absolute powers in the hands of the university director.” She called for a wide-ranging review of the new legislation with all opinions heard, to ensure that it guarantees the rights of everyone at the university.
University Governance Proposals
The new University of Khartoum draft law would create a university council consisting of members from inside and outside the university who are entrusted with power over academic, administrative and financial affairs.
According to the draft, the council would be headed by someone from outside the university, who would be responsible for the university’s performance. The council would have the right to take whatever measures it deemed appropriate to achieve the university’s goals.
The university council would be able to approve policies to improve the university, including determining the qualifications required to appoint faculty members and their assistants, the conditions of their service, the basis for their promotion and the university’s annual general budget.
The new draft law would also give the university council the right to hold a vote of no confidence in the university’s director or deputy director. At least three-quarters of the members of the council would need to support the motion, and elections to choose new university leaders would need to be held immediately.