Dhaka University has accepted the early retirement request of journalism teacher Samia Rahman, but asked her to pay Tk 1.1 million in dues.
Samia, who was penalised for ‘stealing content’ in a research paper, says the authorities are seeking revenge as the High Court has overturned her demotion.
The university's Registrar Prabir Kumar Sarker, in a letter dated Aug 3, said the salary and allowance she had received while on an education leave abroad will be counted as debt.
The letter said Samia has Tk 1.6 million in her provident fund and she may pay the “dues” from there.
It also threatened action according to the rules if she did not pay the university's dues following a Syndicate decision.
Samia, who is staying in the United States, expressed anger over the university’s claim.
“The university authorities have sent this letter to take revenge on me for losing the legal battle,” she said over the phone from the US.
She also questioned the timing of the letter, alleging it was purposefully dated Aug 3, a day before the High Court delivered its verdict, but she received it on Tuesday.
The Dhaka University Syndicate demoted her from associate professor to assistant professor of the department in January 2021. Later on Aug 31, 2021, she challenged that decision in the High Court, claiming she had been framed on the basis of a "false letter" as part of a conspiracy against her.
The High Court declared the decision to demote Samia illegal earlier this month. The court also directed the university to provide all job-related benefits and financial allowances to Samia in line with her previously held position.
In December 2016, Samia and another teacher, Syed Mahfujul Haque Marjan, co-authored an eight-page research paper titled 'A New Dimension of Colonialism and Pop Culture: A Case Study of the Cultural Imperialism,' published in the University's Social Science Review journal.
However, it later emerged that they had plagiarised nearly five pages of an article titled "The Subject and Power" by French philosopher Michel Foucault, published in the University of Chicago's Critical Inquiry journal in 1982.
Almost a year later, in September 2017, the University of Chicago Press sent a written complaint to the Dhaka University authorities over the matter.
Samia and Marjan were also accused of copying multiple pages of intellectual Edward Said's book 'Culture and Imperialism'.
The university's syndicate punished them after investigations into the complaints.