Rajshahi University Central Students’ Union (RUCSU) has remained dormant for around 31 years, despite demands by student organisations and ‘promises of election’ by the authorities concerned.
Rajshahi University authorities announced to hold the polls after the Dhaka University Central Students’ Union (DUCSU) had its long overdue election in 2019. RU authorities held talks on the polls for around a year but there seems to be no progress.
Students accuse the RU authorities of making excuses and remaining silent about fixing a date for election. They allege that the authorities are wasting time and unwilling to revive the student body.
The maiden election to RUCSU was held for 1956-57 term after the university was established. The then name of the union was Rajshahi University Students Union (RUSU). After a brief hiatus during Ayub Khan’s regime, the students’ union was revived in 1962 with the name RUCSU. Fourteen elections have been held till date, with the last one for the 1989-90 term.
According to the RUCSU discussion committee, talks officially started on February 7, 2019, with Bangladesh Chhatra Federation’s (BCF) RU unit. Later, discussions with hall provosts started on July 4 that year followed by talks with students of various residential halls.
Bangladesh Chhatra League’s (BCL) RU unit General Secretary Faisal Ahmed Runu said they demanded holding RUCSU polls and had joined talks with RU authorities.
He said the election can be held after the university reopens. “It’ll help students place logical demands. We want RUCSU election as early as possible,” Runu told UNB.
RUCSU Andolon Manch Convener Abdul Mojid Antor said they have been demanding election to the student body even before the latest DUCSU polls.
“The university administration held talks with all student organisations and pressured us not to protest during the discussion. But even after the discussion ended, there has been no initiative,” he said, adding that they would intensify their movement after the campus reopens.
He said it would be possible to hold RUCSU election after opening the campus. “The administration is the only one responsible for not holding RUCSU polls,” he said.
Bangladesh Chhatra Federation (BCF) RU unit General Secretary Mohabbot Hossain Milon concurred.
“The university administration isn’t interested in holding RUCSU poll. Students were optimistic about RUCSU poll after the discussion had started. We talked to the convener of the discussion committee and proctor but he didn’t show any interest,” he told UNB.
“We’re fully ready now. We’ll press for our demand after the campus reopens,” he said. “All the student organisations demand RUCSU poll. Only the university administration is not interested in holding it.”
Proctor Professor Lutfor Rahman, also Convener of the RUCSU discussion committee, said they tried to hold RUCSU polls before the campus was closed due to coronavirus outbreak and had talks with different student organisations on ways to organise it.
“We spoke to the hall administration and concluded that the situation was not perfect for the election as many people were staying at the dormitories illegally,” he said.
Prof Lutfor said they launched a drive to oust the illegal occupants.
“We’re about to succeed but the campus was closed due to the pandemic. On the other hand, admission test and convocation held at the end of 2019 were big barriers to RUCSU polls,” he said.
The proctor said they would consider taking steps to hold the polls after the campus reopens. “I want RUCSU polls and it’s very important for our students,” he said.
BCF General Secretary Mohabbot Hossain Milon said the situation on the campus was favourable for the election.
“The university authorities are responsible for the situation at the residential halls. All the students we spoke to want RUCSU polls,” he told UNB.