Several lawmakers have weighed in on the recent protests at the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) and demanded the removal of its vice chancellor (VC), voicing support for the protesting students. On the other hand, 35 other VCs have termed the students' demand "unethical".
Jatiya Party parliamentarians Kazi Firoz Rashid and Peer Fazlur Rahman made the demand on a point of order during the ongoing winter session of the parliament.
"No student movement should be belittled…. Remove the VC immediately with the assistance of the education minister and the Prime Minister, and help the students go back to class," said Kazi Firoz Rashid.
Peer Fazlur Rahman said students fell sick due to the hunger strike movement, while the VC is shamelessly sitting there although the students do not want him.
"He will neither resign nor hold talks with the students. If he (VC) does not resign willingly, the government should release him immediately," he said.
"No one is bothered about the demands of students. The education minister has invited them for talks but we know students will not come to Dhaka to meet anyone" he said.
Kazi Firoz Rashid further said the ongoing movement means that the students do not have any confidence in the current VC.
Meanwhile, the vice-chancellors of 35 public universities observed that the chaos created at SUST demanding the removal of its VC is a conspiracy.
They also termed the demand for resignation of the SUST vice-chancellor "unethical".
The 35 vice-chancellors put forth this observation in an urgent virtual meeting held to discuss the ongoing situation at SUST, said a statement issued by the Association of Universities of Bangladesh.
"The ongoing protest seems to be a part of a conspiracy to destroy the education system by creating an anarchic situation in SUST as well as in other educational institutes," reads the statement.
The association thinks that any problem can be solved through discussions, it states.
Earlier on Saturday, teachers' representatives of SUST held a meeting with Education Minister Dipu Moni at the minister's residence in the capital.
Following the meeting, Dipu Moni urged the protesting students to withdraw their hunger strike and sit for talks to end the standoff.
Since 19 January, 24 students have been on a hunger strike demanding the resignation of the university VC Farid Uddin Ahmed.
Before that, students began protests to demand the resignation of the Provost of the Begum Sirajunnesa Chowdhury Hall, Zafrin Ahmed Liza, after she allegedly misbehaved with a student.
Though she was eventually removed, students have continued their campaign to press for the resignation of the VC after police used batons and tear shells and fired shots to break up a protest.