There are no words strong enough to condemn the manner in which the Dhaka University vice chancellor panel was nominated on Saturday. We have always condemned politicians for dubious manipulations in the national elections. However, it was unimaginable that such an election for the vice chancellor panel in the country’s oldest seat of higher education could take place.
A session of just 47 members of the 105-member Dhaka University senate is not just incomplete, but illegal too. According to Article 20 (1) of the Dhaka University Ordinance 1973, the full-fledged senate must also include 25 representatives of registered graduates and five representatives of DUCSU. Deviation from this rule prompted 15 persons, including teachers, to file a writ with the High Court and the court initially placed an injunction on the election. Yet we were shocked to observe that the vice chancellor panel election took place with a stay order from the chamber judge, before the legal process in the court was even complete. It is apparent that the Dhaka University authorities resorted to all sorts of manipulations to hold an election akin to the 5 January polls. The difference is that it was only the ruling party’s political opponent that boycotted the 5 January election. Yet in this case, even teachers of the ruling party camp boycotted the senate election and took up the matter in court.
Again, the manner in which certain teachers came down hard on students who were striking in demand of DUCSU elections, is unprecedented in the history of the university. What can students and the people of the country learn from teachers who grab students by the throat? If the teachers imagine themselves to be so popular, then why didn’t they hold elections for registered graduates and DUCSU before calling the senate session? It is ironic that the person who tops the vice chancellor panel in this election by the fractured senate, was himself elected by yet another fractured senate four years ago. Such farce cannot continue in the name of democracy,
Surely the Dhaka University authorities can be asked why the DUCSU elections have been held up for the past two and a half decades.