Rajshahi University: Is it BCL’s responsibility to allocate hall seats? 

The question that arises from a Prothom Alo report titled "Five hundred seats in Rajshahi University occupied by Chhatra League" is whether the hall administration or the Chhatra League controls the hall administration at Rajshahi University. 

Rajshahi University comprises 11 residential halls with a total of 5,383 seats. According to the report, more than 500 seats have allegedly been taken over by leaders and members of the Chhatra League. This occupation of seats by the Chhatra League has raised concerns about deserving students being deprived of their rightful accommodation. 

The report further highlights that a former vice-chancellor of the university granted jobs to leaders of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) based on special considerations just before his departure. This move raises questions about whether there are no capable students within the BCL who could have earned those positions through their talents and qualifications. 

Also Read

Rajshahi University has a student population of 16,969, distributed across the 11 residential halls. Unfortunately, the number of seats available in each hall falls short of the official allocation by the university administration. The practice of Chhatra League leaders and members occupying seats exacerbates this shortage, rendering the administration ineffective in addressing the issue.

Hall provosts have reported instances where Chhatra League leaders assign seats to students of their choice when vacancies arise, often bypassing established regulations. In some instances, students allocated seats by the hall administration are forced to leave. The central concern raised by the report is how long this situation will persist.  

The reasoning provided by the BCL leaders to justify their seat occupation is equally absurd. Naeem Islam, the General Secretary of the Suhrawardy Hall Wing Chhatra League, asserted that the hall's provost refrains from accommodating any Chhatra League members due to his alleged pro-BNP affiliation. Consequently, they claim to have assigned seats to BCL members themselves. This assertion, suggesting that during the Awami League's governance, a hall provost would deny seats to BCL workers, appears incredulous. 

Also Read

It is important to note that the hall administration's seat allocation is based on merit, with no authority granted to the Chhatra League in this matter. If the Chhatra League members believed that the administration unjustly deprived them of hall seats, the appropriate course of action would have been to seek redressal through the university administration. Instead, they have taken matters into their own hands by implementing their version of a 'remedy'. 
Similar activities by the Chhatra League are observable in other public universities as well. Allegations even extend to instances of harassment and mistreatment of students through the establishment of unauthorized guest rooms within various halls.

However, the degree of violence exhibited by this pro-government student organization at Rajshahi University stands out, setting new records. A grave accusation is directed at BCL members for forcibly evicting regular students and students affiliated with other organizations, subsequently reallocating these seats for BCL members' use. 

Even the parents of university and general teachers have voiced their protest against the Chhatra League's violent actions. In response to mounting pressure from these movements, the Chhatra League members occasionally relent. Yet, their presence resurfaces once the agitation subsides. 

The question that arises is why ordinary students must endure such harassment. We aim to draw the attention of the university authorities to this pressing concern. If indeed they fulfill their role as custodians of the university, it becomes imperative for them to thoroughly investigate these matters and take appropriate actions against those implicated. The premise should be that only individuals for whom the hall administration has legitimately assigned seats are entitled to reside within the halls. All other forms of seat manipulation must cease.