“Students are not familiar with freedom, absence of fear, criticism and dialogue, they are not used to healthy relations with their professors. Students in Kurdistan as well as all over Iraq have grown accustomed to listening but not to dialogue and criticism.” Dashnye Daloye, AUI-S Director of Student Affairs
This is a selection of a report titled American University Needs Money published on Niqash , an online trilingual newspaper, on August 25, 2010. The reporter, Dana Asaad, addressed AUI-S’s current unsatisfactory state of affairs directly through quoting from the university officials.
Director of Student Affairs, Dashny Daloye, evidently shed light on the students’ unfamiliarity with actual values of concepts like freedom, critical thinking capability and perhaps overlapping inborn ever existing sense of fear.
To some extends, I may agree with Daloye. In our high school years, which I’m not ready to discuss in a broad, we might have had suffered from fear, powerlessness and most importantly form not knowing how to interact with instructors, yet I’m fully sure that Daloye and many others agree with me on the fact that it’s entirely a new phase. Most AUI-S students, if not all, are products of a corrupted educational system which only produced dull or witless individuals. Perhaps, more likely the boundary of this argument attached to high school stage. But if students continued lacking freedom, certainty and proper way of communication, then it will be critical to ask, what is the university’s duty?
Establishing American University of Iraq- Sulaimani was a precious pace, yet accusing students in such manner is depicting shallow understanding and not scrutinizing all factors evenly. We cannot uphold all university leaps unless we examine them constantly. It’s not only the students’ fault that they lack potentials, seeing that huge portion of the blame goes to the university’s incompetency.
Moreover, perhaps, Daloye’s statements demonstrate a clear disappointment in students, yet I consider the other side of the argument which is an obvious strives to turn a blind eye to expected responsibilities from the AUI-S. Universities as highest educational institutions that can become centers for continuous free and productive dialogues, which Daloye claims we need. But I want to ask why AUI-S lacks this profound character? Why all the culpability goes to students?
Daloye’s announcements should not simply pass by. As on one hand, it can be considered as the university’s official stand. Students must ask, what are they afraid of? What they can do about? What the university ought to do, or what does the university owe students? On the other hand, it can be also considered as an indication of the university’s chance of failure, as if a liberal institution fails in its pursue of producing and presenting wisely and knowledgably equipped army of individuals, it’s a certain lose or failure. Is that what the AUI-S is afraid of?
Furthermore, I want ask Daloye and other officials, what do they have to normalize students fear and alter their uncultured personalities. Part of any issue’s resolution, regardless how huge it may be, is addressing its shape and ramifications. I guess the university founders and Daloye were aware of the degree of the Iraqi students’ incapableness, yet they could not overcome. Moreover, in most of the classes “ideas” which Daloye might give a good account, are useless and a waste of time. I cannot help myself remember an example in which an instructor motivates students to think as much critically as Daloye thinks necessary, unless they have personal relations.
We cannot deny the verity that successful students; (in terms of knowledge not in terms of exam scores) are fruit of both the student and instructor. However, this fact may seem disparaging and bitter in taste for many AUI-S tutors. There is a real gap between tutors and students, tutors could not fulfill student needs either due to inability or wrong method. On a larger scale, the university treats all problems in the same way. Momentarily, all of university’s attention directed towards money related problems, the university persistently importune for money which is widely arguable. Therefore, there is not much attention left for Daloye’s appeal and other problems that face students in cabin classrooms, which are not seemingly proper educational atmosphere. I rather prefer continue on asking, why just the students don’t know how to communicate with their tutors? I believe, if the university thinks once about the student verses tutor relations, it should think twice about tutor verses student interactions.
Regularizing and cultivating the seed of dialogue and real student presence need work. Daloye’s critics or one side accusation will not help visualizing AUI-S mottos. As it has been said accomplishing any promised mission is easy in words but hard in practicing, which is imposed tangible fact around AUI-S. Therefore, climbing Ojos del Salado is impossible; it’s a dream to reach the pick if you are not familiar with the path to the top. Therefore, the university must clear its stand and help students to reach the higher promised standards. Finally, Daloye’s blindly generalizing won’t serve anyone, other than pressuring our old grievances. We are not afraid, but we are not allowed practice our desires freely even in AUI-S “the first and only liberal arts institution”. The university up to this moment failed in giving the free impression or does not treat students again freely. Language, and fear barriers, as Daloye stated, will not stop us; we will strive to overcome our faults with or without AUI-S. I have labeled this post as Daloye we are not afraid, but I believe Daloye’s comments from the third floor is welcomed even they are loaded with slightest accuracy.
*Bahman Abdulrahman Hasan is an International Studies and Political Science at the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani .