Allegations against VCs: Let neutral agencies investigate

A vice-chancellor is the administrative head of a university and its guardian. Whether a university would comply with the rules and regulations largely depends on him. But there is no way a university can run properly if the VC himself remains involved with different irregularities.

The allegations that are being raised against the public university VCs these days are not only worrying, in some cases these are disgraceful. The teachers of Comilla University have been boycotting classes since 19 March in protest against the irregularities and whims of vice-chancellor AFM Abdul Moyeen. They formed human chains as well. The demonstrating teachers were assaulted by outsiders and some goons at the office of the VC. This is not a one-off incident. The disagreements between several former VCs of Comilla University and the leaders of the teachers’ association resulted in boycotting of classes earlier too.

The immediate past VC of Chittagong University Shirin Akhter appointed 37 people, including leaders and activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), student wing of governing Awami League, on her last working day without following any rules and regulations.

Photos of BCL leaders holding her feet went viral on social media, bringing disgrace to the university and the post of the VC. This former VC entertained the criminal activities of BCL leaders since taking charge. An incident of murder also took place due to BCL infighting during her tenure as Chittagong University VC.

On the other hand, members of Swadhinata Chikitshak Parishad (Swachip) demonstrated against former VC of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Sarfuddin Ahmed in front of his office bringing allegations of appointment-business against him when he was in office. Media reports say the VC’s personal assistant was harassed by the demonstrators.

It is not that only the VCs of these three universities have committed irregularities. The first task of almost all the VCs is to fawn on the leaders and activists of the ruling party student body and fulfill their illegal demands. Their second task is forming a coterie of the teachers and employees. Those who would remain outside of this group face different types of hassles. Comilla University is the latest example of this situation.

The immediate past VC of Chittagong University gave appointments to 37 people for what she said as coming under pressure. But this is the second example of such an incident, with the first one being set by a former vice-chancellor of Rajshahi University.

Earlier, allegations of appointment-business were raised against the VCs of Rajshahi University, Islamic University, Islamic Arabic University. Even the University Grants Commission (UGC) investigated the allegations raised against a few VCs. While some of the VCs challenged the investigation of UGC, a toothless body, some of them exerted their influence to nip the investigation process in bud. A former VC of Rokeya University challenged the education minister too. Those VCs are more influential than the UGC and the education ministry officials.

Many VCs had to leave the campus in the face of movements of students and teachers. Such a situation is not warranted. The policy makers must remember that the higher educational institutions cannot operate in this way. How would the loss be mitigated if classes and exams at any university remain postponed due to the actions of the VCs?

The investigation against the allegations of irregularities, corruptions and appointment-business of the VCs should be done by a neutral organisation. This should be done using the judiciary if required.