Remove the Dean of Student Affairs, LUMS
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The Vice Chancellor,
Lahore University of Management Sciences
Dated: 3rd May 2019
As a member of the responsible student community here at LUMS, I am writing to you to raise concerns regarding the recent increase in the intrusive and paternalistic behavior of the Office of Student affairs, to whose response I sign this letter with the plea to immediately remove and replace the current Dean of the Office of Student Affairs.
For the purpose of clarity, I would like to assure you that this plea is not based on any personal grudges against any office holder nor have I been a direct victim of any repercussions. The reason why I am writing this letter is that I am of the utmost belief that over the span of a couple of semesters, the Office of Student Affairs has operated in a manner which is at an absolute disregard of its jurisdictional boundaries.
I realise that one may contest as to what the jurisdiction of the office is, and the extent to which the administration should be involved in student affairs too could be debatable. I do not intend to get into a discussion on that. What I merely want to highlight here is that regardless of what one may think the jurisdiction of the administration is it is not doubted that what it is now is remarkably different from what it was in previous years. And I, as a member of the LUMS community, believing in the tolerant and diverse ideals that the university proclaims to hold, am adamantly opposed to it.
The blatant disregard of the freedom of the student body, and constant positive coercive actions is merely an exhibition of the distrust that exists between the administration and the students. This distrust however often plays out as paranoia which leads to the administration overstepping its boundaries in various ways:
● Faculty involvement in student affairs: The existence of faculty lobbies and their not only interfering but manipulating the affairs of students is an alarming situation. As instructors in a university involvement, such as the involvement in council elections and knowhow of the general student “gossip”, is a blatantly unprofessional demeanor and is not in line with the values LUMS proclaims to hold.
● Authoritarian and Paternalistic Measures: The Dean of the office of Student Affairs has at multiple times during the semester taken measures that do not hold up to the decorum of his office. This includes, but is not limited to, using pathos to influence student council elections, imposing restrictions on campus events, restrictions on alumni through the new alumni policy et cetera.
● Increase in On- and Off-Campus Surveillance: This matter, too largely ignored, is a great breach of privacy of students. Increased installation of cameras around campus, taking down doors in dormitories, restrictions to sit in free parking, and increased surveillance of off-campus activities are just examples of the increasing campus policing. This I hold is utterly unacceptable.
● Disability to engage in meaningful conversations: At multiple times during his tenure, the Dean has exhibited the intolerance of engaging in conversation with students. His dismissal of students remarks, arrogant responses, and the passing of casual value-judgements are clear showings of his intolerance to what students have to say.
I do consider the fact that the Office of Student Affairs might not have taken all the actions mentioned above directly. But choosing to turn its eye, is as transgressional as allowing such instances to take place. The disregard of student issues, and hence the lack of representation is troublesome to say the least. The recent instability on student campus life, with increased activism, regardless of what it is trying to achieve, is evidence of the inability of the Dean of the Office of Student Affairs to handle matters efficiently.
I refuse to be a party to this display of intolerance, pervasion, and unprofessionalism on behalf of the administration and demand the immediate dismissal of the current Dean of the Office of Student Affairs on the basis of him not having the capacity to reflect student interests in the workings carried by/under him.
Your consideration is not only humbly anticipated but is deemed necessary given the current state of affairs. I thank you for taking out the time to go through this letter.
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