1 February, 2023


Colombo University, Arts Faculty Academics Boycott Lectures Protesting Student Violence

It is reported that Faculty of  Arts, University of Colombo has taken a decision in the afternoon of October 7th to boycott all lectures for undergraduates in 2nd, 3rd and 4th years until further notice protesting continuing student violence unleashed by leaders of the Arts Faculty Student Union against other students in the Faculty.

raggingThe student union has been refusing to declare an end to ‘ragging season’ which has been continuing for over three months since the freshers were admitted to the University in the last week of June, 2014. Any freshers who resist ragging have been  verbally abused with filth and physically attacked. One such male student, son of a senior academic from another university was dealt a severe slap in the year for challenging ragging and had to seek medical treatment and a complaint filed at the Cinnamon Gardens Police station said to remain active for continuing legal procedure. A female first year student, whose both parents are said to be lawyers was continuously hounded by the student union leaders for resisting ragging and was severely slapped by one of them surrounded by others. The assailant had offered to give his photograph to her daring her to make a complaint to the police challenging her that he would be released in two minutes within the arrest. It is reported that while she made a complaint to the Cinnamon Gardens police station the culprit was taken into custody but proving his claim he had been released within minutes due to a phone call received by the police. Later, under pressure the female student who was assaulted had agreed to withdraw legal proceedings against the assailant. On another occasion a group of about 15 first year non-hosteller students were huddled together and abused in filth and beaten up by the student union leaders for not following their orders. On all these occasions the university authorities have not been able to taken any action against the culprits.

In addition to freshers being subject to such abuse and violence, seniors who either talk against such violence and ragging  as well as those who attempt to converse with freshers either within or outside the university have been subjected to verbal abuse and physical attacks. Senior students who have attempted to expose in the social media ragging carried out by student union leaders have been threatened with physical violence and forced to withdraw such material from social media. Similarly, seniors who have attempted to converse with first year students on campus have been  roughed up on several occasions.  It is in the immediate aftermath of  the latest of  such  incidents that at a meeting of the Heads of Departments of the Faculty of Arts chaired by the Dean that the decision mentioned at the beginning of this report  had been taken. The last incident had taken place on last Tuesday (7th October 2014) at noon when a student union leader assaulted a second year student in  the student canteen in the Faculty of  Arts when he was having a conversation with two female first year students.

A special meeting of the Faculty Board of  the Faculty of Arts has been convened for 9th Thursday  morning to discuss the matter of ongoing ragging and student violence in the Faculty and take appropriate action.

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Latest comments

  • 6

    I have never understood why students who rag others are not expelled and prosecuted. It can only mean the usual rotten politics.

  • 2

    How ironic !!!

    These are Anura Kumara’s boys and Anura is the new pin up boy of the Elite . and the Anglicans in the UNP.

    Who do these hooligans hurt . It is none other than poor Sinhala Buddhist youth from the Village who do not have money to do commerce , science and technology courses .

    The irony is when the Govt wanted to eliminate these hooligans from campuses, . it was the united front the , Lawyers Collective, BASL , and FUTA which went iersek and accuse the Govt of all sorts of things and threaten mobilization of masses to start an Arab Spring.

    The Defence Sec should put in an Army post in each campus and see these F……s will bash innocent kids and give them photograph and boast” catch me if you can”…

    • 2

      KA sumanasekara has to do his homework before making sweeping comments. These are not “Anura Kumara”‘s or any other “KUmara”‘s boys. These are “SB”‘s boys. So putting up a military post by “defence sec” would not work.

  • 6

    All this bad behavior is not just from our politicians and armed forces. It seems to be deeply entrenched in our society. With this behavior from university students, it is no wonder Chris Nonis had to find evidence from 2500 years ago to defend our country! How very sad.

  • 0

    from the facebook page University Teachers – Sri Lanka

    Kaweendra Nanayakkara

    Key phrase here is “The student union has been refusing to declare an end to ‘ragging season’ which has been continuing for over three months….”

    Where were those academic during that 3 months period? What did they do about that so called ragging season? Do those academics accept first 3 months period as ragging season and allow ragging to continue?
    It seems that 3 months period is accepted period for ragging and exceeding that period angers the academics as if nothing serious happened during that first 3 months.

    The human rights of citizens of Sri Lanka are protected in terms of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka which is the supreme law in the country. According to this Constitution, any citizen can produce a petition to the Supreme Court in terms of the article 126 of the Constitution in case of a human right violation or a case closer to the infringement. The Constitution further highlights ruthless, brutal or contemptuous treatment to any party by another as a violation of human rights.[21] University students are also considered as citizens and are subjugated to the Common Law that prevails in the country. Accordingly, the constitutional constrains specified above are equally applicable to university students. Any form of civil or criminal offence executed by them are liable to be punished and in an instance of violation of such rights committed by university students, they shall be produced before the relevant Court and subject to suitable punishment that followed by the trial. After the series of ragging-related incidents happened in 1997, Prohibition of Ragging and Other Forms of Violence in Educational Institutions Act, No. 20 of 1998[22] was passed in the Sri Lankan parliament. As specified in the detailed note of the Act, it is identified as an Act to eliminate ragging and other forms of violent and cruel inhuman and degrading treatment from educational institutions. The Act specifies the relevant Higher Educational Institutions coming under the Act and that includes all the Higher Educational Institutions established under the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978.

    Actions though belated should be encouraged. However it should be noted that inaction often is the cause for continuance of students behaviour.

  • 3

    “Free Education” in the University level should be abolised. This should be replaced by graded discounts to students who cannot afford. The poorer students gets a higher discount than a rich kid who can afford.

    This will eliminate these stupid strikes and education will be valued.

    “Free Education” is not free and paid by the Tax Payers and they get nothing but aggravations and arrogance from these students.

  • 3

    The ragging phenomenon is a deep-seated and antiquated tradition that has no place in the 21st century. “Hazing” as it’s known in the US is a crime and people are convicted and expelled from universities as a result of a guilty convication.

    In Sri Lanka it seems these violent criminals are given at worst a slap on the wrist. There have been multiple aggregious instances of ragging that have ended in either murder or suicide of the victims of such ragging over many decades, but it seems the authorities are impotent in preventing and prosecuting these crimes.

    Why is that the case? My parents who went to the University of Peradeniya in the late 50’s tell me that ragging then was a much less violent phenomenon meant to break the ice between freshers and seniors. Fro example,re-enacting a movie song between 2 first-year students. But then, it is often pointed out, that most of the students who went to university came from urban and middle and upper middle class families, due to the dearth of advanced-level teachers for rural schools among other factors.

    Now, thankfully that is not the case. We have better rural schools than ever before that produce some of the best talent in the country. So there is a much bigger diversity on campus than before. Especially diversity in socio-economic class. It is said that nowadays only a small minority of university students come from English-educated urban families and the vast majority are non-English speakers and quite a few from rural backgrounds. People allege that the violence perpetrated has a strong tinge of class-warfare, i.e. the ragging season is the one time when the lower socio-economic classes have to lord over the middle and upper socio-economic classes. This is the only oppurtunity to sock it to the priviledged classes, it is said, becuase most of the rest of the time the middle and upper classes control the economy and most of the other spheres of life in Sri Lanka.

    The reasons behind the deterioration of teasing of freshers to violent assault has deep-rooted social causes such as petty class jealousy to bullying to intimidation of political opponents. Ragging is very closely tied to politics since as any Sri Lankan knows there is a big divide between the urban and rural dwellers in Sri Lanka, as there is between the middle and upper vs. the lower classes. So politicians being the corrupt lot they are, are either afraid to challenge the powerful student unions, or are in fact sympathetic to whom they term as the “underdogs” – the lower classes, who make up the majority of Sri Lankans.

    Unless and until all people affected by ragging face up to these truths, ragging will continue to destroy the lives of the very people whom this country needs most – educated and talented youth willing to live and work in Sri Lanka, especially given the trends in population decline and brain-drain.

    The unfortunate reality is that even though victimized the urban and English-educated will have a relatively easy opt-out: they can go abroad for higher studies (and end up emigrating), or they can find a job in Sri Lanka due to their language skills in English. It’s the bright, non-English speaker who gets both ends of the stick – ragged by shameless seniors and discriminated by the priviledged classes.

    Psychologists often point out the the biggest bullies are those with the greatest mental problems. Their bullying is a means to compensating their real or perceived inadequacies. If one uses those conclusions to understand the ragging phenomenon in Sri Lanka, one would find a trove of social ills that the WHOLE society needs to deal with and help eradicate, starting from class discrimination and sexual exploitation.

    Is the society ready to deal with it?

  • 2

    And we call our Sri Lanka as “2500 old civilisation”?

    We are still behaving like animals whereas countries with lesser history behave like humans.

    There is something not right with our mentality especially when our Buddhist monks talks thrash about everyone but themselves.

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