The students of Dhaka University withdrew their protest programme on Tuesday following the vice-chancellor's assurance that he will abolish the system of common room accommodation for first year students from the next academic session.
"We held a meeting with the VC this afternoon. We called off the protest because he assured us that new students will get housing in the halls from the next academic session," Tanbir Hasan Shaikat, a member of the Dhaka University Central Students' Union told The Business Standard.
Tanbir Hasan Shaikat, who led the protest programme, cited the vice-chancellor as saying: "I was a student of the university. I know everything. Your movement is logical. I will try my best to meet your demand and I can assure you that students will get housing from the first year."
Dhaka University Vice-chancellor Prof Dr Akhtaruzzaman told The Business Standard, "I will discuss the seat crisis with my colleagues to resolve the issue. There is no doubt that the shortage of housing at university dormitories is causing severe problems for students."
The latest report of the University Grants Commission says that only 11,969 out of a total of 33,360 students enrolled in Dhaka University get on-campus housing.
As many as 2,83,866 students are enrolled in the country's public universities; of them, only 89,292 (31 percent) get on-campus housing, the report said.
Earlier in the day, the protesting students tried to bring their beds into the vice-chancellor's residence so that they could live there. But the university's proctor body barred the protesters from entering.
The protesters said that Sudarshan Halder, a member of the proctor team, told them that the VC was not in the house at that time and that they were not permitted to take shelter inside.
Later, they took position in front of the gate demanding a solution to the accommodation problem.
The students stayed there for at least four hours, from 10:30am to 1:30pm.
During his speech, Tanbir claimed that Dhaka University could not make it to the ranking of the world's top 1,000 universities because of the 'accommodation crisis', and that the student wing of the ruling party uses the crisis as a 'political tool'.
He also said, "The university should not admit new students until the accommodation problem is solved."
Tanbir said they will start to live at the vice-chancellor's residence if he does not come up with a logical solution to the 'gono [public] room' practice at the university.
On October 1, the students gave a 15-day ultimatum to the university to solve the accommodation crisis.
Jahangirnagar University teachers' strike enters second day
A group of teachers of Jahangirnagar University observed a strike on campus for the second consecutive day on Tuesday, demanding the resignation of Vice-Chancellor Prof Farzana Islam.
The protesting teachers threatened to continue their movement until their demand is met.
The teachers under the banner "Durnitir Biruddhe Jahangirnagar" (Jahangirnagar against corruption) locked all the administrative buildings at the university. So no official activities were held.
Around 200 teachers and students joined the programme.
Professor Rayhan Rayne of the philosophy department told The Business Standard: "No immoral person can be the VC of Jahangirnagar University. The incumbent VC has lost her morality. Therefore, we do not want her at the helm of the university any longer."
"We will continue our movement until she leaves," he said, adding, "We have no person in mind for the VC position, but we do not want the current VC."
Meanwhile, the leaders of the Jahangirnagar University Teachers Association requested the protesting teachers and students to call off their movement during a meeting on Tuesday.
But the protesting teachers demanded that a probe committee be formed to investigate the 'corruption' of the VC.
Professor Ajit Kumar Majumder, president of the Jahangirnagar University Teachers Association, said, "Though the demand of the protesting teachers is logical, we requested them to withdraw their strike in the greater interest of the university."
"It is not our concern who the VC is. We are worried about the academic activities of the university," he said.