Prothom Alo illustration

The structure of our public universities is such that the vice chancellor is all-powerful. He is the administrative head. The university acts says the VC has to stay on the campus at all times. He is expected to resolve all problems the teachers and students face, aside from overseeing the administrative activities. Academic and administrative activities come to a standstill due to the VC’s long absence.

Since taking charge as VC of Begum Rokeya University, Rangpur, Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah has remained absent on campus. According to ‘Odhikar Suraksha Parishad’, a body of the university’s teachers and officials, out of 1,300 days, the VC went to the campus just for 200 days. The teachers and officials have been demonstrating for the last three years demanding his regular presence on campus but to no avail. On Thursday, a section of teachers placed the pro vice-chancellor Sarifa Salwa under siege for about seven hours and handed her a memorandum. Probably, this is the first ever incident of keeping the pro-VC under siege demanding VC’s presence on campus.

The memorandum said the president and chancellor has appointed Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah as VC on condition of his presence on campus round-the-clock. In fact, this has been stipulated in the first condition of the appointment. But violating the condition, the VC has been remaining absent from campus month in and month out. He has violated all the rules and laws of the university.

Odhikar Suraksha Parishad has also demanded stopping all the misdeeds and vested quarters in the name of opening a liaison office in Dhaka. They think the VC is solely responsible for the hitches in academic activities. Some of the other allegations against the VC include he carries out duties of dean and department head, taking handsome honorarium by teaching or not doing so, initiating new courses.

The Odhikar Suraksha Parishad further alleged since the VC took charge, he has been running the office like a dictator. He does not follow any of the rules and regulations of the university. They urged the chancellor to take quick initiative to resolve the crisis.

It was expected that the university named after Begum Rokeya, a foremost leader of women’s emancipation movement, would run fairly and efficiently.

The university is supposed to remain above all corruption and irregularities. It is sad that since its inception, the university has fallen victim to many irregularities. Its second VC MA Jalil served in jail for corruption. The third VC Nurunnabi had to leave the campus in the wake of demonstrations. Complaints have been lodged with the UGC and education ministry against the incumbent VC. The students are the worst victims.

We seek an end of this ‘provisional’ VC of Begum Rokeya University and hope that from now on the VC would remain on campus round-the-clock. If the VC has minimum love to the university, the VC should stay in touch with the teachers and students and try to resolve their problems. It is not possible to do this without staying on the campus.