Alleged rackets at Sabaragamuwa campus
Sabaragamuwa University lecturers, non-academics and students yesterday informed Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake of alleged financial irregularities and administrative lapses at the university.
Sabaragamuwa University Teachers Association General Secretary Mahinda Pathirana said the university authorities had paid Rs.3,886,400 to a company to purchase a ‘gatting machine’ — a tool used in physical education – which could have been bought for Rs.65,000 in the market.
Mr. Pathirana gave copies of the documents used in the transaction to journalists.
Lecturers raised concerns over the failure by the University Administration to curb ragging.
In the letter sent to Mr. Dissanayake, Mr. Pathirana said Vice Chancellor Mahinda Rupasinghe had failed to take action in a case where a student died on December 2, last year after he was ragged.
He said in this case the student’s father in his evidence alleged that his son had been ragged despite suffering from high fever at the time.
In another instance, student Seeloththama Dushyantha Abeyratne who had also been ragged was suffering from mental retardation.
Mr. Pathirana alleged that the University Administration had not punished the wrong doers fearing repercussions from the Students’ Union controlled by an extremist political party.
A Management Faculty second year student is reported to have been prevented from entering the university premises by this students’ group because she had complained to the authorities about the inhuman form of ragging.
“It is regrettable to note that the law of jungle prevails at our university where students who enter the university through the proper channel are prevented from pursuing their studies by another students’ group,” Mr. Pathirana said and added that violence among students had reached alarming proportions.
He cited the assault on Noel Dasanayake, a third year student of the Faculty of Social Sciences as an example of this dangerous trend. This student is alleged to have been severely attacked because he had refused to participate in some political programme.
Meanwhile, the Students’ Union complained of misappropriation in the purchase of T-shirts for various sports teams. It said, a pair of shorts had been bought at Rs.2,500 despite its actual market value being between Rs.600 and 750.
The minister who heard the complaints made by students and lecturers agreed to improve the physical infrastructure of the university as soon as possible and spoke of the need to improve hostel facilities.
He asked students to establish a rapport with academic and non-academic staff.
“When I was a student leader, I even used to borrow money from the Vice Chancellor. That is the kind of rapport I had with the academic staff at that time,” he said. The minister also sought the assistance of students to curb ragging and said he was appalled at the unclean and untidy of conditions at some of the hostels, and instructed university authorities to clean them properly.
“Why can’t you keep them clean? See the cobwebs on the roof. Please remove them, and spray some chemicals to destroy the spiders. Otherwise, they will enter the heads of these students from their ears and come out from their mouths,” he said in lighter vein.
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