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February 15, 2018

Heightening tensions, QAU teachers plan sit-ins against VC across campus


February 15, 2018

Islamabad: Heightening tensions on campus, the Quaid-i-Azam University’s Academic Staff Association has announced it will continue protesting against Vice-Chancellor Dr Javed Ashraf until he steps down over administrative failures.

Protesting outside the VC offices for many days by staying put for two days daily, the ASA members said they had decided to stage a sit-in at different places between the entrance (Babul Quaid) and the administration block to reiterate its demand.

ASA Secretary Dr Sohail Yousaf told ‘The News’ that the VC had falsely claimed that the faculty didn’t want to meet him as the fact of the matter was that the faculty approached the VC’s office everyday but found him to be behind the iron curtain and unapproachable.

He said the association had submitted a written document to the VC’s office to register the grievances. Dr Sohail insisted that the academic standards of the university had taken a nosedive.

“The MS programme has been closed down in almost all departments because the administration failed unable to answer a simple query by the Higher Education Commission first enquired way back in 2015. The MSc programme is in its last leg,” he said.

The ASA representative said once there were more than 1000 applicants for admission to each department but ironically, in the current semester, the total number of applicants was less than the seats available.

He also complained that all mega projects launched more than eight years old had been ‘rotting’ at different stages. Dr Sohail said the VC claimed about the huge funds brought to the university by him was laughable.

“The only funds he (VC) brought to the QAU during his whole tenure total Rs50 million. Of them, Rs40 million was provided to fulfill the demands of the students promised to them during their recent sit-in and Rs10 million for sinking a tubewell to overcome water shortage on campus,” he said.

“To date, no records of these funds have been found anywhere what to talk about tube well,” he said. About the construction of the university’s boundary wall, he said the project was approved in 2012 and was expected to be completed in 2017 but so far, only 50 per cent of work had been completed on it with the VC to blame for the delay.

The ASA representative said a high-level committee constituted by the QAU chancellor had already completed its inquiry against the VC over administrative failures and recommended his immediate removal from the office.

On the other hand, the VC insisted that the agitation was limited to 35 to 40 faculty members. He told ‘The News’ that the protest was led by two former presidents of the Academic Staff Association, who were demoted after the HEC refused to endorse their cases for promotion over failure to meet the criteria.

The VC also said another active member of the agitating group was denied the TTS (tenure-track system) salary, which was considerably higher than regular salaries on account of the low quality and quantity of his research, while another faculty member was protesting the closure of her department (Linguistics) – a decision made by the syndicate two years ago. He said two members of the business school, who didn’t hold PhDs were unhappy with the recent contracts given to two highly-qualified professors.

“These faculties along with some of their friends have been engaged in noisy protests outside the administration block,” he said. The VC claimed that the ASA members had consistently refused the written request of the administration consisting of him, deans, resident officer and hostels provost to have a discussion on their grievances. “To call for the resignation of the vice chancellor and yet refuse to talk does not appear to be reasonable, and gives rise to suspicions about the real reason for the ASA indignation,” he said.

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