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The buck stops with the VC

  • Published at 02:04 pm October 10th, 2019

Universities must be led by administrators for whom the welfare of their students is the primary concern

In the wake of the recent murder of a student at Buet, the general student body has been repeatedly demanding accountability. Their demand has resulted in the provost of Sher-e-Bangla hall resigning, but the vice-chancellor still remains at office and refuses to step down. 

There is no denying that the VC along with the Buet administration is culpable in the death of Abrar Fahad. A culture of inflicting violence upon students in various rooms of the residential halls has been built up before their eyes, and the VC or admin have never intervened. 

It has been repeatedly suggested that the autonomy of our educational institutions is little more than a farce at this point. Top administrations are chosen based on party allegiance, and even teachers are employed along party lines. However, Buet, being the premier educational institutions in the country, is often seen as being above such petty politics, and as a centre for educational excellence. 

But now, a clearer picture emerges -- even the Buet top brass appear willing to condone and turn a blind eye to criminality, the end result being a horrific killing. The absence of top officials from the crime scene, and the attempt to flee by some, has brought the whole institution into disrepute. 

If the administration of a university is supposed to act as the guardians to students, Buet has failed its student body, and there is simply no way for the VC to escape his culpability in this matter. 

The decent thing for him to do after such a tragedy on his watch is to resign. 

Of course, so far he is unwilling to let go of his position, even as the students have clearly lost faith in him as their guardian. He pleads ignorance to the reign of terror that BCL had established in his institution. In the first place, this is hard to credit. In the second, if he didn’t know, then he should have. 

Universities must be led by administrators for whom the welfare of their students is the primary concern. They must protect students from all harm and stand by them in times of danger. The VC of Buet has failed on both counts.

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