Chittagong Unversity: Outgoing VC's activities must be investigated

Chittagong University’s outgoing vice chancellor Shireen Akhter was so embroiled in corruption that the teachers of the university had long been demanding her resignation. Having failed to get renewal of her appointment for the second term after all sorts of efforts, the former VC on her last day at office appointed 37 staffers  illegally. This might be termed as her ‘swan song’.

According to a report of Prothom Alo, this appointment was given to various posts of third and fourth class between Tuesday afternoon to night, without issuing any circular. Six among those who were appointed on the last working day of the VC are involved with Chhatra League politics.

Seven are residents of Fatehpur Union, an area adjacent to the university. With the final appointment, as many as 105 people were appointed in the similar process in the last three months.

After Shireen Akhter took charge as the VC in November 2019, a total of 172 people were recruited on daily wage basis without any circular. Among them, 115 were third class employees and 57 were fourth class.

As per the rule of the university, circulars must be published to recruit anyone in vacant posts. The applications then get reviewed and applicants must sit for an oral or written test.  Later the details of the applicants who pass the examination are sent to the syndicate. The Syndicate gives final approval to the appointment. But the outgoing vice-chancellor flouted these rules.

Chittagong University management department’s professor Md Abu Taher was appointed as 19th VC of the university on Tuesday.

Such irregularity did not happen only in Chittagong University. On 6 May in 2021, the former VC of Rajshahi University recruited 138 persons on his last working day flouting the rules. Later the University Grants Commission (UGC) recommended canceling the recruitments. But that recommendation was not carried out. Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury, who preceded Shireen Akhter as the CU VC, also appointed staffers at the final days at office without publishing any circular.

Such activities of the VCs of public universities give a feeling that their main task is not to advance the education programme in the university, but to make illegal appointments.

Unpleasant incident also took place in CU on Wednesday regarding illegal recruitment. An employee appointed as a lab assistant in the psychology department was allegedly assaulted by BCL workers when he came to join the office. BCL leaders went to the register office and warned the officials that no one recruited outside their organisation can be posted. A BCL leader has also raised allegations of bribery in recruitment.

This grave allegation must be investigated.

New VC Md Abu Taher also acknowledged that due process was not followed in these recruitments. If so is the case, then action must be taken against those involved with the process. Also, necessary action should be taken to uphold a fair and peaceful environment of education in the campus.
Past VCs have condoned many criminal activities by various factions of the pro-government student body. It is expected that this will not happen again during the tenure of the new VC. Otherwise, the announcement he has made to make the CU a center of excellence will remain a pipe dream.