India

JNU Teachers' Body Opposes 2nd Term For Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar

JNU Teachers' Body Opposes 2nd Term For Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar

JNU Teachers' Body Opposes 2nd Term For Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar. (FILE)

New Delhi:

The JNU Teachers' Association (JNUTA) Monday voiced its opposition to granting a second term to vice chancellor Jagadesh Kumar, who has been allowed by the government to stay in the office till a replacement is found after his term ended on January 26.

Education Ministry officials had said in January that Mr Kumar will hold the office till a successor is appointed.

Demanding appointment of a new VC at the earliest, JNUTA members alleged Mr Kumar had been enjoying an autonomy that had proven detrimental to the "unique character of the university".

"The current administration over the last five years undermined the university structure," the JNUTA alleged.

"Further delays in appointing a new vice chancellor by the government would only add further to the damages already wrecked," the JNUTA said.

It alleged that the current VC had taken decisions "arbitrarily" to "deliberately weaken" the existing system of academic governance.

"Nearly 150 legal cases have been filed by various constituencies - faculty, students, non-teaching staff against the VC and his administration since 2016.

"In majority of these, the university has been found to have committed illegality," JNUTA secretary Moushumi Basu said.

Among the concerns raised by the JNUTA about Mr Kumar's administration were "arbitrary" appointment of chairpersons of centres and deans of schools, appointment of selection committee experts "without" informing centres, changing roster for reserved posts in faculty recruitment, introduction of new programmes and schools "without" prior deliberations with faculty, and "below average" preparation in terms of infrastructure including faculty.

Alleging that the current administration had "no regard for social justice", professor D K Lobiyal said there has been a reduction in financial allocations for academic activities.

The changes brought about by the current administration in financial allocation have been "fundamentally damaging the academic functioning", the JNUTA said.

"The sharp decline in plan grants from both UGC and government of India, coupled with reduction in expenditures on academic programmes supporting teaching and research within the university, along with wasteful diversion of funds for non-academic activities posed a significant challenge that compromised greatly the functioning of the university," the association said.

Citing financial reports, the JNUTA noted that the annual academic expenses decreased by 26.38 percent from Rs 38.36 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 28.24 crore in 2018-19, and by another 30 per cent to Rs 19.74 crore in 2019-20.

"In the same period, legal expenses increased from Rs 2.72 lakh in 2017-18 to Rs 17.7 lakh in 20-18-19. An additional fund of Rs 30 lakh was approved for legal expenses in 2020 to the already sanctioned budget of Rs 9 lakh," it said.

The JNUTA also accused the VC of launching "unprecedented attack on faculty", with attempts like imposition of CCS (Central Civil Services) rules, "denial" of promotions and counting past services for teachers, denial of leaves, biometric attendance and stopping pensions.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)