BUET VC accepts protesters’ demands, asks for time to implement them

Students are protesting an on-campus gathering by Chhatra League members despite BUET’s ban on political activities

Dhaka University Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 30 March 2024, 11:06 AM
Updated : 30 March 2024, 11:06 AM

Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology Vice Chancellor Satya Prasad Majumder has agreed with the demands made by student protesters over a gathering on campus by members of the Chhatra League despite a ban on political activities. However, he has also asked protesting students for time to follow the necessary procedures and implement their demands.

Majumder informed the media of the situation at his own offices around 1:15pm on Saturday.

“We are doing what we can to implement their demands,” he said. “We will take action according to the rules once the investigation reports are submitted. If we expel people without following the rules, it will not be upheld in court. To follow the rules properly, we need time. As it is the month of Ramadan, we should have asked for more time.”

Student politics was banned on the BUET campus in 2019 after a student movement against the death of Abrar Fahad, who was beaten to death. But, late on Thursday night, the central president and office secretary of the Chhatra League entered the campus for a gathering.

Student protesters say Imtiaz Hossain Rahim, a student of the 21st batch at the civil engineering department and member of the central Chhatra League committee, organised the event.

The BUET administration scrapped Imtiaz’s hall seat, however protesters are continuing to demand his expulsion as well as those of several others involved in the gathering for breach of university rules.

They say they have identified five others involved from photos and video of the event and have called on university authorities to identify and take action against other students involved.

BUET VC Majumder says a six-member special committee has been formed to probe the incident. They are to launch their investigation on Saturday and have until Apr 8 to file a report.

“We can expel Imtiaz from the hall, but term expulsion should be done in a systematic manner by calling a meeting of the Disciplinary Committee. The investigation report is required to hold the Disciplinary Committee meeting as the committee cannot take any action without an inquiry report. If we punish him without that, it will not be upheld in court. As a result, there will be an investigation and in the course of that investigation the accused should be given the opportunity to defend himself. We have to follow the laws and rules.”

Students are protesting all academic activities, including term finals on Mar 30 and Mar 31 to protest the incident.

In that regard, the vice chancellor said the examinations were not postponed, but the students boycotted.

The students did not apply for a postponement of the exams, which would have been considered if they had applied, he said.

Majumder expressed the opinion that students had made a mistake on this matter, but it could be reconsidered if they apply to the academic council regarding the situation.

Students have also continued to push for the resignation of Prof Mizanur Rahman, the director of the Department of Student Welfare over the unauthorised entry to campus by outsiders.

“We are not thinking about the DSW director’s resignation now,” the VC said. “This is because it is part of a normal process. It will happen according to the rules. The director said there was no negligence on his part. The students can make allegations, but we cannot take action in the face of demands. We will appoint a new director when the time is right.”

The security guards on duty will be asked to explain why they allowed the Chhatra League leaders entry, he added.