'No' to student politics in pvt universities

| Updated: September 17, 2022 21:36:52

'No' to student politics in pvt universities

Private universities in the country are now under pressure to allow student politics on their respective campuses. The pressure is mounted by the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL), the student wing of the ruling Awami League. The BCL recently announced its committees at 41 private universities in the country. Its leaders argued that the authorities should allow political activities in private universities. Some private universities have already made their opposition to any political activity on campus known. Most students, teachers and guardians have also become worried for obvious reasons.

Student politics in public universities have turned into a dirty thing for long. After 1990, the relevance of student politics gradually started to erode. Instead, it becomes a vehicle for a ruling party-allied student organisation to intimidate opponents and even get involved in rent-seeking. The situation has deteriorated severely in the last decade. Some leaders and activists of the student organ have virtually developed a shadow administration in the hostels and dormitories of top educational institutions. On campus, the student organisation also has complete control and does not allow a minimum dissident voice. Other student organisations are mostly cornered on the public universities' campuses. Any legitimate protest, procession or rally by other organisations usually faces the wrath of the dominating faction and sometimes comes under attack. Public university authorities are also virtually hostage to them. 

The impunity enjoyed by the ruling party student organisation has only encouraged some leaders and activities to get involved in illegal and tyrannical acts. These include illegal toll collection, torture of innocent students mostly disliking politics,  harassment of female students sexually or otherwise. The killing of a BUET student Arbrar in the dormitory is an example of the brutality of these activists. Though some of these bullies got punished in some cases, the deplorable practice is far from coming to an end.

Against this backdrop, the demand for allowing political activities in private universities appears to be utterly inconsiderate. If allowed, under undue pressure, it will bring disastrous consequences in the long run. There is little doubt who will rule the roost in private universities. Other student organisations will also want to be active and demand a level-playing field. Thus, a confrontational situation may arise, tackling of which will prove to be a burden on the authorities. The result will be disruptions of academic activities and deterioration of the academic environment.

The ruling party student wing argued that student politics is necessary to curb hidden militant activities in private universities. Some quarters also support the flawed logic. If there is any such activity, law enforcement agencies must find and curb it with the help of the university authorities.

One of the strong reasons why parents and guardians send their children to private universities, spending a good amount of money, is these campuses are free of politics. Unlike public universities, students have to pay a large sum for their studies in these higher educational institutions. They deserve to get back return on their money's worth. Public universities are now wasting tax money in the name of student politics which has become toxic. Now, vitiation of the academic atmosphere of other institutions will not bring any good to the country. In no way should student politics be allowed in private universities. If involvement with student politics is a legitimate right for some, not joining the politics, on the same token, is also a similar right for any other. Private universities have also provided the space for the latter, which unfortunately is not always respected.


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