Teachers, students and alumni expressed their discontent at the VC, especially the way he handled the situation after the murder of Abrar Fahad
Professor Dr Saiful Islam was appointed as the vice-chancellor (VC) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) in June of 2016.
A teacher of the electrical and electronics engineering department, Professor Saiful showed inefficiency as an administrator, claimed teachers and students of the prominent engineering university.
Teachers, students and alumni expressed their discontent at the VC, especially the way he handled the situation after the murder of Abrar Fahad.
Abrar, a second-year student of the Buet's electrical and electronic engineering department, was beaten to death by a group of Chhatra League activists on October 7.
During tenure of Professor Saiful as VC in the last three and a half years, administrative activities of the university slowed down significantly, they alleged.
After the death of former VC Prof Khaleda Ekram on May 24, 2016, Prof Saiful Islam got the position as he was the "senior most" teacher of the university then.
This might be the reason he was appointed as the VC, said Professor Dr AKM Masud, president of Buet teachers' association.
"We welcomed Professor Saiful when he was appointed. But it is very sad that the administrative activities slowed down during his tenure," said Professor Masud.
He said the VC used to come to office after 12pm noon. Even on Tuesday, he called a meeting with the university teachers to discuss issues in the wake of Abrar murder.
The meeting was scheduled to be held at 11am, but the VC showed up at 12pm, said Dr Masud.
"The VC went abroad minimum 22 times in the last three years," alleged Prof Masud.
"Due to the administrative inefficiency of Prof Saiful, a fund of Tk24 crore went back to the ministry," he claimed.
Dr Kaikobad, a retired professor of Buet, said, "Political affiliation and flattery is a must to be the VC of a public university. It has been happening for decades in Bangladesh; I think Prof Saiful was no exception."
The academic and administrative activities of the university became slow after Prof Saiful took the helm as the university's top executive, he added.
According to a resolution of Buet teachers' association on June 30 this year, files keep on piling up for the last two years due to a lack of decision-making ability of the VC.
Even the meetings of academic council do not take place on a regular basis; only 14 syndicate meetings were held in the last three and a half years, said teachers.
During a general meeting of Buet teachers' association on Wednesday, hall provosts and other teachers also alleged that the VC is slow in dealing with administrative affairs, said sources present at the meeting.
The meeting was called in the wake of the unstable situation on the campus. After the meeting, the association demanded resignation of the VC.
Meanwhile, the Buet Alumni Association has also demanded resignation of Prof Saiful and an overhauling of the administration at the earliest.
The association led by its President Professor Jamilur Reza Chowdhury placed a seven-point demand while protesting on Buet campus, seeking justice for the brutal murder of Abrar and exemplary punishment for the killers.
Prof Jamilur Reza Chowdhury told The Business Standard: "Murder of Abrar Fahad is the result of weak safety measures, mismanagement and inactiveness of the Buet administration that have been continuing on the campus over the years."
"The VC cannot avoid his liability," he added.
Professor Dr Dil Afroza Begum of chemical engineering department at Buet said the administration is to blame for its failure to save the life of a student.
"Why is there no central monitoring system of close circuit cameras at Buet?" questioned Dil Afroza, also a member of the University Grants Commission.
"If there was such a system, we might have been able to save Abrar," she said.
"Although there were recommendations for establishing central monitoring system at Buet, there was no such initiative form the university administration," said a former registrar of the university, wishing anonymity.
This correspondent repeatedly tried to contact Buet VC Prof Saiful over the phone. But he did not receive the phone calls.
His personal secretary Kamrul Hasan said the VC is in Kushtia to meet Abrar's family.