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.
The 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.