Indefinite shutdown: Edwardes College students protest suspension of faculty members

Principal says show-cause notices issued for their role in ‘certain events’.

Our Correspondent December 18, 2013
Principal says show-cause notices issued for their role in ‘certain events’. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: In a first, the century-old Edwardes College Peshawar was forced shut for an indefinite period after students took to the streets to demand the removal of the college principal on Tuesday.

Demonstrations erupted following the sacking of four senior faculty members late Monday night. In reaction, a number of other teachers also announced boycott of classes in support of their colleagues.

On Tuesday, protesters blocked Sher Shah Suri Road, suspending all traffic plying on the main route. Students walked towards the Governor House, but were stopped by security forces. The blockade forced many to walk additional miles towards their destinations. The sacked faculty members told journalists they were suspended for unidentified reasons and without having been served a show-cause notice. They accused the principal of not only jeopardising their career, but also risking the future of students.

Principal Dr Titus Presler, however, told The Express Tribune those suspended were served show-cause notices for “their role in certain events that have occurred at the college.”

“We have initiated disciplinary action against four faculty members which does not presume what the outcome of the proceedings will be. One faculty member among those suspended has already responded in a very helpful way and discussions are ongoing,” he said, adding another accused faculty member “incited students to protest, and this is not an appropitiate response.”

Majority of the faculty members want a peaceful environment for studies, he stated. “We hope the college will soon return to its routine.” Presler did not mention, however, exactly how soon. The college is expected to be in recess from the end of this week till January 2 for Christmas holidays.

Some faculty members expressed concern over the protests and said students should not be involved in resolving administrative disputes concerning teachers. “It has never happened in the history of the college. I have never seen my students protest on the streets. This is really sad,” said a faculty member, requesting anonymity. “Disputes should be resolved within the college, not on the streets.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2013.


shakrullah khan | 10 years ago | Reply

Editor Sir :

I am afraid it is an irresponsible bit of reporting. See an excerpt from it below:

" The sacked faculty members told journalists they were suspended ...."

Now it must be appreciated that there is a world of difference in sacking of an employee and his suspension . And this has carried wrong message to many of your readers. Colleges or universities are places of both high sanctity and great vulnerability . With thousands of excitable youth at one place , chaos can easily be caused by lack of caution in dealing with them . Imagine the negative impact of this incident on the norms and values governing relationship between students , teachers , and the college administration .

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