Right To Shelter

ITU Dormitories and Our Fight for the Right to Housing


As we enter the 2023-2024 academic year, we are facing with dormitory increases. As if this were not enough, it is announced that only male students will stay in the “Gümüşsuyu Male Student Dormitory,” which has been used as a mixed school for years.

The dormitory problem at Istanbul Technical University (ITU) is a problem that has yet to be solved for years and has been deepening for 2-3 years. Especially with our return to school after the pandemic in the 2021-2022 academic term, it became clear how insufficient dormitory capacities were. At ITU, where no dormitory has been built for years, the department quotas are increasing yearly. As a result, most students had to be accommodated in private dormitories and religious sect dormitories, while some were forced to stay with relatives or family friends they may not know.

As thousands of students who come from all over Turkey to study at universities, we have to spend half of our day on commute. Maybe we spend our education life without even having a desk.

Three demands

We gather at ITU Solidarity in the fall of 2021 to get our housing right. We opened a table in the Central Classroom (MED) and distributed leaflets.

Our demands were as follows:

  • ITU dormitories should be built.
  • All dormitory reserves should be placed.
  • Foundations should withdraw from ITU.

In MED, we hung two banners: “Our right to shelter will not be granted, we’ll take it,” and “Build a dormitory, Koyuncu!”

We still did not received a response to our demands. During the forum, we decided to spend the night at MED. We resisted together with our songs and folk songs in the dormitory, which is usually open 24/7 and was arbitrarily closed at 00:00 that day. İsmail Dabanlı, the Rector’s Advisor at the time, came to our resistance and promised us that they would build a dormitory for the school. Even though two years have passed, the rector’s office is still playing the three monkeys regarding this dormitory, which we requested to be informed about the projects.

Capacity increase did not solve the problem

Last year, after the students’ reactions, they allegedly expanded the dormitory capacity and increased the double rooms to three-people rooms. Increasing the dorm capacities by 30 percent suddenly, without improving facilities such as study rooms and laundry facilities, created new problems without solving any. The sole purpose of this practice is to ensure that the foundations that own the dormitory earn more profit. While the students stayed in jam-packed rooms, the rector and his colleagues set banquet tables for the 100th-anniversary events. While they are listing advertisements with the student products, saying it is the 100th anniversary of ITU, they are offering pocky rooms for students.

As we enter the 2023-2024 academic year, we are facing dormitory price increases in the summer term. As if this were not enough, it is announced that only male students will stay in the “Gümüşsuyu Male Student Dormitory,” which has been used as a mixed school for years.

This decision again does not solve any quota problems. It actually negatively affects female students who have to work late in Taşkışla and Gümüşsuyu. We wonder how the ITU administration will meet the accommodation needs of the new female students after placing them from Gümüşsuyu dormitories to the Ayazağa Campus. The reason why these decisions were announced in the summer is clear: They know that students will unite and fight for their demands in school. They force students with housing problems to register in dormitories with exorbitant prices without allowing them to “speak out.”

In this school, some people had to stay in the library to continue classes. There were those who could not stand these conditions and had to leave school and return to their hometown. ITU administration only makes the lives of those already trying to study under economic crisis conditions difficult. As ITU students, we have resisted and received our rights on many issues. We know no one will give us our rights unless we come together and ask for it. We will fight until we gain our right to housing.

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