• Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019
  • Last Update : 01:45 am

DU VC faces mounting criticism

  • Published at 12:24 am September 29th, 2019
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File photo: DU VC Dr Akhtaruzzaman Collected

A native of the coastal town of Barguna under the Barisal division, Prof Akhtaruzzaman is a senior faculty member of the Department of Islamic History and Culture at DU

After less than two years in office, since September 2017, and months of ridicule of his performance, Dhaka University (DU) Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Akhtaruzzaman faces mounting criticism from a certain number of teachers as they alleged that the vice chancellor placed some of his loyalists at important positions of the university.

A native of the coastal town of Barguna under the Barisal division, Prof Akhtaruzzaman is a senior faculty member of the Department of Islamic History and Culture at DU.

Soon after Prof Akhtaruzzaman became the vice chancellor of Dhaka University, many of the teachers and colleagues from his Islamic History department got appointments in vital posts at the DU.

Mohammad Humayun Kabir, a professor of Islamic History, was nominated by the teachers of the Awami League backed Blue Panel to contest as syndicate member, and was later elected. In a stark similarity, Islamic History department's Professor AKM Golam Rabbani was appointed as Dhaka University Proctor on October 19, 2017.

Along the same lines, Md. Abdur Rahim, an associate professor of the same department secured his appointment as assistant proctor of the Arts Faculty.

Vice chancellor Akhtaruzzaman led syndicate also appointed noted Sociology Professor Dr Sadeka Halim as the acting dean of the Social Science Faculty on September 27, 2017, replacing the then acting Dean Prof Shafiul Alam Bhuiyan. 

A close associate of former vice-chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique, Prof Bhuiyan claimed the appointment of the succeeding acting dean was unlawful during the time. 

Moreover, Prof Akhtaruzzaman re-shuffled the portfolio of the Public Relations Office and, thereby, one Mahmood Alam from Barisal, was put at the helm of the all important department, in November 2018.

Several Chhatra League leaders came down heavy on DU vice chancellor for appointing a former Chhatra Dal leader Kamrul Hasan, who was also from Barisal, as the Manager of Transport department. The office of the Vice-Chancellor described the recruitment as legal on September 22, 2017. 

34 illegal enrollments of Chhatra League men

In gross violation of the Dhaka University rules and resolution, at least 34 Chhatra League leaders enrolled into a post-graduate course, with the recommendation of the vice chancellor and dean of the Business Faculty.

According to media reports, the leaders of the ruling party’s student front enrolled in the Master of Tax Management (MTM) under the Banking and Insurance department, an evening program for professionals, after the polls' schedule for the university’s central student body was announced on February 11. 

However, the entrance examination for the post-graduate course was held on November 30, according to the admission circular, which evidently suggests that the Chhatra League men enrolled into the course around two and a half months after the entrance exam. 

Some course participants said that they were admitted in the program using the recommendation letter of the vice chancellor. 

Following a barrage of criticism, involving elements of nepotism, general students and left leaning student bodies voiced concern over rampant irregularities in the university and demanded immediate resignation of the vice chancellor and Business Faculty Dean. 

PR stunt: Put garbage first, and clear those as campaign !

The DU authorities, on August 27,  had served a show-cause notice to its assistant registrar (academic) for sharing a Facebook content, styled as “so called cleanliness campaign” arranged by the DU authority on its campus. 

Vice Chancellor M Akhtaruzzaman inaugurated the campaign called “Clean Campus Week” on August 5. However, it was alleged that just prior to the cleanliness campaign inauguration, some DU staff member purposefully put trash and solid waste on the Teacher-Student Centre (TSC) premises, which many eyewitnesses, mostly students, have corroborated.

The DU vice chancellor, however, dismissed the claim.

Ducsu polls

Six major alliances, which took part at the Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (Ducsu) polls on March 11, alleged that the election was marred by irregularities and vote rigging.

Many of the students' bodies claimed that the VC was involved in the process, in a bid to ensure Bangladesh Chhatra League backed contenders’ victory.

The provost of Kuwait Maitree Hall was relieved of her responsibilities after evidence of vote rigging was determined during the Ducsu polls. 

VC speeches earned ‘Mockery’ 

The DU vice chancellor often makes remarks, which drew widespread criticism and drew flak on social media.

On January 27, 2019, the VC said that a cup of tea, three pieces of snacks (Singara, Somucha, Chop) at a cost of Tk10 could only be available in DU. He claimed that, this value-meal was a pride of DU and went on further and said that this easily affordable meal price could be acknowledged in the Guinness World Records. 

This remark drew widespread criticism and people from cross-sections made a mockery of the vice chancellor's comments.

Prof Akhtaruzzaman also described the government job-quota reform activists as militants in 2018, during the movement.

In July 2018, Vice Chancellor Akhtaruzzman claimed that he found close affinity between protesters for quota reforms and global extremist outfits; Taliban, Al-Qaeda and al-Shabab.

Last year, while announcing the university admission test results, the DU vice chancellor said that it was a matter of enormous credibility that the DU authorities had reduced the incidents of forgery from the corresponding academic year. This also drew widespread criticism on social media and Facebook.

VC sought help from Bangladesh Chhatra League 

Chhatra League men have beaten up Dhaka University students who held the vice-chancellor under a siege on January 23, last year, in his office for hours in protest against an assault on them by the ruling party’s student wing. 

Vice chancellor allegedly sought help from Chhatra League to rescue him. 

Question Leak

The intake test questionnaires of the Gha Unit were leaked hours before the commencement of the test in two consecutive years, 2017 and 2018. 

DU vice chancellor had to arrange re-admission tests for those only successful candidates of 2018 for the Social Science Faculty, facing severe protest and criticism particularly from the Chhatra League.