All but one vice-chancellor got mired in controversy in the last 25 years
Jahangirnagar University Vice-Chancellor Professor Farzana Islam is among nine out of ten vice-chancellors of this institution who found themselves at the centre of massive controversies in the past two decades.
Since 1993, a total of eight vice-chancellors have stepped down in the wake of protests. Only Professor Khondokar Mustahidur Rahman managed to complete his tenure without a hint of trouble.
Since Jahangirnagar University's establishment in 1970 till 1993, the vice-chancellors ran the educational institution without any opposition from either teachers or students.
These vice-chancellors managed to steer clear of any controversy and stepped down with dignity after the end of their respective tenures. The situation changed drastically after 1993, as the role of the university's vice-chancellors became questionable.
Some of them were accused of financial corruption and misuse of power, and were forced to resign in the face of teacher and students' movements. But neither the University Grants Commission nor the Education Ministry took any action against these corrupt vice-chancellors.
The university is facing the same problem now as a group of teachers and students is protesting the alleged corruption of the incumbent Vice-Chancellor Professor Farzana Islam. The university was even closed sine die on Monday in the face of protests against the vice-chancellor.
Prof AK Azad, former chairman of the University Grants Commission, told The Business Standard that forced resignation is actually a punishment. "I do not want to comment further," he said.
Prominent professors of the university think that the protests are just a battle for power.
Professor Anu Muhammad holds the government responsible for every incident of chaos since 1993.
"The government appointed vice-chancellors without the consent of the university senate most of the time. The teachers could not tolerate unelected vice-chancellors and when they find an issue, they spread it and stage anti-VC movements," he said.
"Vice-Chancellor Prof Farzana Islam was elected in her first tenure. But the government re-appointed her without any election in 2018. Now you can see the problem at the university," Prof Anu Muhammad said.
"It is true that the government appointed vice-chancellors with the motive of managing and maintaining Chhatra League and other forces. So, these vice-chancellors tried to show their loyalty," he said.
Professor Dr AKM Shahnewaz of the Department of Archaeology told The Business Standard, "A good number of teachers are always chasing power. Usually the position of vice-chancellor is the most lucrative, so they target the chair and start a movement.
"There are many groups in the university. Every group wants someone from their side to become the vice-chancellor. After a new vice-chancellor is appointed, all the other groups start working against him or her."
Sources at the university said Professor Mafizuddin Ahmed was the first vice-chancellor of the university, and he did his job perfectly. Professor Syed Ali Ahsan took charge in 1972 and decorated the campus aesthetically. He also completed his tenure with dignity in 1975.
Professor Muhammad Enamul Haq and Professor Zillur Rahman Siddiqui ran the university till 1984. Professor Mohammad Noman, who was given the Ekushey Padak award in 1994, was the VC from 1984 to 1988.
Professor Kazi Saleh Ahmed took charge in 1988 and was ousted in 1993 after some Jatiatabadi Chhatra Dal leaders attacked teachers. Professor Kazi Saleh Ahmed failed to tackle the situation and stepped down.
Professor Amirul Islam Chowdhury was then temporarily appointed as the vice-chancellor, and continued in that position until 1994. Later, Alauddin Ahmed became the vice-chancellor and was ousted in 1998 after a protest against a rape on campus and an increase of tuition fees.
Then pro vice-chancellor Professor Abdul Bayes was made the vice-chancellor, but was ousted after the BNP-Jamat government came to power in 2001. Professor Jasim Uddin played an important role in ousting Professor Abdul Bayes. But Professor Jasim Uddin was forced to leave the chair in 2004 through a teachers' movement.
Professor Khondokar Mustahidur Rahman is the only lucky vice-chancellor who left the campus with dignity. He was appointed in 2004 and worked his full tenure of four years.
Muhammad Muniruzzaman was temporarily appointed vice-chancellor in 2008, and continued until 2010.
The government appointed Shariff Enamul Kabir in 2010. Because of his "politically blessed" appointment, he faced widespread criticism for alleged anomalies in teacher recruitment, admissions and corruption in other categories.
He was forced to leave campus in the wake of long teacher and student protests in 2012.
His successor Prof Anwar Hossain also resigned from the vice-chancellor position following months of agitation by a section of teachers and students in 2014.
Later, the Jahangirnagar University senate elected Prof Farzana Islam as the vice-chancellor, and she completed her first tenure uneventfully. She was reappointed in 2018 without election, and a movement to oust her started. The movement gained momentum after allegations of corruption were brought against her recently.
The protestors say they will not call off their movement until the vice-chancellor resigns.