Chula lecturers boycott graduation ceremony as anti-election PDRC leader Chitpas selected student rep.

Two Chulalongkorn University lecturers have declared that they will not participate in the university graduation ceremony as Chitpas Kridakorn, an anti-government leader, has been selected as the student representative to give the graduation oath.    
 
Anthropology lecturer Dr. Jakkrit Sangkhamanee and International Relations lecturer Asst. Prof. Dr. Nattanan Khunmas from the Faculty of Political Science said they would not participate in the ceremony, as they opposed the university’s selection of a student representative who looks down on rural people and disrespects human rights. 
 
Jakkrit said he would “betray” his academic knowledge if he attends the ceremony as anthropology teaches him to uphold the value of respecting diversity and equality in society. 
 
“How can I betray my knowledge and the rural people from whom I learn a lot, to greet the selected student representative in a university that claims its honour is about serving the people?” he asked.  
 
“That student representative also obviously expressed her insults toward rural people and those who were less educated than herself,” said Jakkrit.  
 
The two lecturers would complete their duty as assigned to assist students before the ceremony but would not enter the ceremony hall.
 
The decision also prompted open letters from Chulalongkorn University alumni to their President, expressing disagreement since Chitpas has been charged with violations of the law and is involved with political conflict, and that could cause a negative image for the university. 
 

Chitpas poses in front of the graduation ceremony banner (credit: Chitpas' instagram)
 
University President Prof. Pirom Kamolratanakul told the media on Wednesday that that it was not the President’s decision but the Graduate Student Committee’s. 
 
The media earlier reported that Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ananchai Kongchan, a lecturer from the Faculty of Commerce and Accountancy who chairs the ceremony organising committee, had proposed her name as student representative as she has contributed good deeds to the nation. 
 
The 27-year-old Chitpas will receive a Master’s degree in Political Science majoring in Public Administration at the graduation ceremony taking place on July 3 at Chulalongkorn University Auditorium.  
 
The Singha Beer heiress sparked controversy last year when she gave an interview to AFP in December, saying that rural people in Thailand still lack a “true understanding of democracy.”
 
Chitpas is one of the leaders of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) which led a 7-month-long street protest aiming to achieve "reform" by ousting the now deposed Yingluck Shinawatra government and replacing it with an unelected "People's Council." 

 

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