ISLAMABAD: Having shown a united front in its tiff against the vice chancellor for nearly two months, some teachers of the Quaid-e-Azam University have now expressed deep concern over the continued boycott of classes at the varsity and the lockdown of the administration blocks.
They have also raised the lid on possible coercion by their fellow faculty members into supporting the stance of their association leaders.
Having already boycotted classes since February, the varsity’s Academic Staff Association (ASA) has put the university on a lockdown for the past two weeks by blocking the path of the transport pool, stranding it and hence the varsity.
The blockade is part of ASA’s protest against QAU Vice Chancellor (VC) Dr Javed Ashraf. The teachers have been demanding his resignation claiming that he was incompetent and responsible for numerous financial irregularities among other charges. The VC, however, has hit back at the teachers, terming their protest a malicious campaign against him for blocking the promotion of some teachers.
However, concerned faculty members said that they maintained an entirely neutral stance on the matter and were distressed over the shutdown of academic activities and the loss borne by students who have paid their fees for the semester and are being deprived of their basic right to attend classes and further their education.
Though they support ASA’s right to a peaceful protest, the teachers condemned the unethical methods adopted by the ASA’s leadership which includes intimidation of faculty members who do not support their position.
Despite that, they maintained that VC Dr Ashraf and his administration has failed to maintain a peaceful environment on campus and has been unsuccessful in demonstrating the vision necessary to take the university forward.
Therefore the faculty members urged the varsity’s chancellor to help restore all academic activities in the university from March 26, initiate an inquiry to investigate all allegations of irregularity against the VC involving all stakeholders, ensuring a peaceful atmosphere on campus so that students and faculty members feel as they are protected from any harassment or intimidation of any kind by the ASA leadership, the QAU administration or any other organised lobby, and most importantly compensation to students for their loss of time and resources, including partial or complete waiving of fees due to the suspension of academic activities
The statement made it clear that contrary to the ASA’s claims, some classes were continuing notwithstanding major hurdles being created by protests.
Faculty members are still conducting classes at the National Institute of Psychology, National Institute of Pakistan Studies, History, Anthropology, Sociology, Animal Sciences, Plant Sciences and a number of other departments. However a majority of faculty members and students are simply unable to resume functioning normally in the prevailing atmosphere, they said.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 23rd, 2018.