- 'Current VC Shireen Akhter resorted to cheating over the appointment,' former VC Professor Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury wrote to the UGC
- 'The appointment to the chair has been made by following the rules of the university. And we are not obliged to brief the media about that,' Prof Shireen Akhter tells TBS
The conflict between Chattogram University Vice-Chancellor Professor Shireen Akhter and former VC of the university Professor Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury has again come to the fore over the new appointment to the university's Bangabandhu Chair.
The row had already widened, enough to reach the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) last year, forcing the University Grants Commission (UGC) to subsequently form an enquiry committee.
In the latest development, former VC Prof Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury complained to the UGC enquiry team when Professor Muntassir Mamoon was appointed to the chair on 27 February this year.
"Current VC Shireen Akhter resorted to cheating over the appointment," he wrote to the UGC.
On condition of anonymity, some senior teachers of the university told The Business Standard that VC Shireen Akhter had appointed Prof Mamoon to the chair to use him as a shield in carrying out her personal vendetta against Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury – which was not acceptable at all.
In 2017, the Chattogram University authorities introduced the chair to conduct extensive research on the life and politics of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. In March 2019, the then VC Prof Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury was appointed to the Bangabandhu Chair, serving in the position till mid-2020.
Prof Iftekhar complained to the PMO in mid-2020 that the current VC had removed him from the position soon after taking over as VC in June 2020.
Terming the removal illegal, an abuse of authority and against university regulations, Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury lodged a written complaint against Dr Shireen Akhter at the Prime Minister's Office.
The PMO then directed the UGC to form an inquiry committee to probe the allegations. On 26 August last year, the UGC formed a three-member inquiry committee comprising Prof Dil Afroza Begum, Prof Sajjad Hossain and Amirul Islam Sheikh.
The committee is yet to submit its report in this regard. Meanwhile, Prof Muntassir Mamoon was appointed to the post even as the row over the chair raged.
At the 529th syndicate (extraordinary) meeting of the university on 27 February, Prof Mamoon was appointed to the post for two years.
Following the new appointment, Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury complained to the UGC, "The current vice-chancellor has taken irrational, unethical and illegal steps by completely ignoring the report or action taken by the inquiry committee on a matter which is under investigation."
Previously, the former VC told the PMO that he had joined the chair with the approval of the Bangabandhu Chair Executive Committee. At the time, Prof Shireen Akhter was also on the committee as pro-VC.
"She herself was a signatory to the approval of my appointment to the post of Bangabandhu Chair. But soon after taking charge as VC, she wrote to me, asking me not to use the title of Bangabandhu Chair."
On condition of anonymity, some senior teachers of the university told TBS that since the UGC has formed an inquiry committee to resolve the dispute over the chair, the vice-chancellor should have waited for the committee's report.
While contacted, Prof Shireen Akhter told TBS, "The appointment to the chair has been made by following the rules of the university. And we are not obliged to brief the media about that."