COMSATS University to remain closed till Friday due to faculty’s boycott


ISLAMABAD: An ugly situation emerged in COMSATS University Islamabad (CUI), Islamabad when teaching faculty members of the CUI boycotted the papers due to which the administration has to announce the closure of the university till Friday, putting future of around 40,000 students at risk.

All seven campuses of COMSATS announced the boycott of exam and conducted walks on Tuesday to record their protest against what they called corrupt system. Their demands include job security, medical insurance, Permanent setup, financial audit, timely promotions and merger of ad-hoc allowances.

They complained that the administration issued show cause notices to senior faculty members and had also suspended some faculty members in the past.

The protesting faculty members of Islamabad campus also locked the central door of the university.

According to faculty members, the varsity is being run as per ad-hoc system due to which all positions including Dean and Registrar fall under the obligation of ‘temporary employment’.

The university has issued too many circulars. In the first circular, it was stated that the academic activity at COMSATs Islamabad shall remain suspended for June 18, 2019. However later in another circular, it was stated Comsats university Islamabad Campus shall remain closed from June 19 to 21, 2019 (Wednesday to Friday); however, CUI, Principal Seat shall remain open.

Rector CUI, Prof. Dr. Raheel Qamar said that some faculty members closed down COMSATS University for seeking job confirmation. The protest led by Dr. Mahnaz Haseeb, who claims to be the president of an illegal staff association, came despite the commitment submitted to us, he added.

He said that a group of employees including the ones terminated upon harassment and discipline issues through efficiency and discipline rules of the university are thought to be behind the University unrest.

He stated that he along with senior faculty members have agreed to the legal demands of the faculty members after due consultations and agreement of the faculty. However, the legal course for the decisions remains with the COMSATS University Senate which the faculty appears to be against.

The Rector has assured the faculty members that all their legal demands were duly agreed by administration during their negotiations and will be fulfilled on a priority. He said he was dismayed at the conduct of teachers who had broken down university establishment, forced closure of university busses and examination, and were trying to instigate students to become part of the protest through social media messages.

Earlier the Federal Minister for Science and Technology (MoST), Fawad Chaudhry also agreed to hold negotiations between the administration and the faculty. The Minister ordered formation of a committee led by the Federal Secretary MoST, to assess the demands of the employees and grant relief under rules. Fawad also assured early implementation of the orders if there were no financial or legal implications as indicated by the association.

He said that the university administration exercised restraint with the hope to improve the situation while the disgruntled faculty members chanted slogans and damaged university property. Islamabad Campus of the University has been closed until Friday due to the protesting faculty.

Sources said that Fawad Chaudhary during a meeting with representatives of Academic Staff Association (ASA) representatives heard their stance and advised to constitute a four-member committee comprising Junaid Zaid, Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr.Tariq Banuri and two members from ASA.

However, President ASA Prof. Dr Mehnaz stated that they would not end boycott till their demands were fulfilled; hence all campuses would remain on boycott till further decisions.