Shahjalal University of Science and technology is in turmoil with no end in sight by the weekend. The causes are many but the immediate known one is the use of violence against the protesting students. They are blaming the VC for it and want his removal. A group of teachers have also joined in making the situation intriguing. Good old inner-party struggle is at work.

He has reportedly said that his fate is in the hands of the Government, so there. How long it will back him is another matter but as has been seen in the past, the GOB remains loyal to the VCs they hire for the major public universities. Some are dispensable like the VC of Begum Rokeya University but the Jahangirnagar University VC despite protests has remained intact till now. So it's all in the guessing game zone now.

The marriage issue

Meanwhile, as expected, all that he has said till date is up for grabs and that includes earlier recorded speeches and chat. Of them one included the VC's remark on the issue of keeping the dorms open without curfew through the night. He mentioned in response to other conversations that it would not be such a good idea. The policy is followed by Jahangirnagar University and as a result JU girls are considered "unmarriageable" by many. The matter has been reported by the media outlet, "Desh Rupantor".

The VC's concern about the marital potential of female students is rather odd considering he seems far less concerned in their safety.

Basically, whether JU girls get married or not is not his concern either. Linking hall curfews and promiscuity is a very offensive insinuation and insults JU too. It implies that state funded GOB university is promoting sexual activities which is a very interesting accusation to make against a fellow academic institution.

Finally, the remark is in very bad taste and unbecoming a teacher let alone a VC.

The norm and the reality

Obviously a section of people link hall life with promiscuity as the VC's reported conversation shows. But this is all in the perceptional zone which means all educated girls are sexually open. As the words all belong to the social--anxiety space, some/many may harbour such notions but for a VC to say so is to tag himself to prejudice of a very high order.

It also shows his concern for their marriage is greater than his concern for education not to mention safety. He is endorsing the idea that a girl's prime destiny is to get married. For many it may be, but for many it is not. Most would want to marry but not at any cost. They want an education also even if it means staying in a curfew free residential hall.

He has also put the blame on the parents in effect for sending their children to such institutions and managed to stigmatize higher education particularly at JU. The parents are the ones who have now become a party to their children's alleged sexual behaviour. He has managed to make seeking education a social crime by his reckoning which causes social shame.

Safety and society

Had the VC been worried that no night curfew would mean that some girls would take risks to go on a stroll or something and get molested we could understand but his worry was about their marital potential. It's odd but it appears he puts a bigger premium on societal culture than personal safety. It's rather disconcerting.

That JU girls have been unable to find grooms due to their alma mater brand is odd as no such report or information circulates amongst any. In fact, I don't know of any cases which caused him such anxiety. But by saying so, he has besmirched all girl students and boys too of JU and he really has no right to do that. And I am not even bringing in the parents here.

Suppose hearing him, some parent refuses to let their daughter study further? Suppose she had got a chance only at JU? Suppose a married girl faces trust issues with her spouse due to such allegations? So many other matters may arise out of an immature and irresponsible comment of a VC who hardly seems to fit into the bill of being a senior educationist.

The damage has been done but the least he can do is apologizing to everyone but particularly to JU in its entirety. A job description is a very good idea for him.

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