JNUTA Appeal | Participate in Protest on Friday, April 22, at the Ad Block/Azadi Chowk

jnuta

Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association

(JNUTA)

18 April 2016

JNUTA Appeal

Dear Colleagues,

For over two months, the teachers of JNU have played a critically important role in building a strong resistance to the attack on the University and what it has stood for. The JNUTA congratulates them for this. The JNUTA GBM held on 12th April 2016,however, noted that the struggle is not over as we are witnessing continuing attempts to change the way the University functions and put in place a more discretionary structure amenable to greater control by the government and the University Administration. If these attempts succeed, they will completely transform the ethos of the University and destroy its ability to perform its academic function.

The HLEC enquiry replacing hurriedly the Proctorial Enquiry was an early reflection of the current University Administration’s preference for an exercise of discretionary powers over the alternative of norm-constrained functioning. The subsequent declaration of the VC’s intention to alter the long-standing method by which Deans, Chairpersons and Wardens are appointed is another stark example of the same attitude. If students were the immediately affected section of the previous case, the faculty is clearly the direct target of this move. The JNUTA has already raised its objections to this attempt and categorically stated that the Administration’s contention – that ‘leadership is important’ – does not provide any rationale for discarding the principle of rotation that JNU has followed since its inception. We are clear that the attempt to do away with this is an attempt to strengthen the Administration’s control over teachers and the ways in which they discharge their academic responsibilities.

In the meanwhile, the MHRD also seems to be actively pursuing an agenda of undermining the autonomy of Central Universities like JNU. Under the guise of desiring greater financial propriety, it has issued ‘directives’ to the UGC and Universities which would reduce the University’s authoritative bodies to mere appendages of the UGC and the MHRD. In addition to the fact that adherence to the MHRD ‘directives’ would involve violation of the letters and the spirits of the University’s Act, Statutes and Ordinances, they would also have a serious practical implication of paralyzing decision-making on a host of matters critical to the regular functioning of the University and for ensuring that students, teachers and other employees get what is legitimately due to them. The JNUTA has raised this matter to with the JNU Administration. Indeed, the University Administration has treated the MHRD directives as merely a reporting matter to the Executive Council rather than one on which the Administration and the authoritative bodies should take a position.

We have already seen the stark contrast between the approach the University Administration adopted towards the 9th February events and the extremely casual response to the Paschimabad incident of 12th February where teachers and their families were threatened. Similarly, while disciplinary proceedings were promptly initiated against students, an extremely benign attitude has been adopted towards the Chairperson of a Special Centre whose statements have provoked widespread indignation and condemnation and the attention of the SC/ST commission. On the other hand, there are attempts to intimidate elected members of JNUEC and representatives of JNUTA to silence their voice and some teachers are being asked to give explanations in response to arbitrary ‘complaints’ from outsiders about their activities as teachers and academics.

Clearly it is important for the teachers of JNU to once again give a clear signal to the University Administration that we will defend at all costs the autonomy of the University and its democratic functioning. For furthering this objective and in line with the decision of the JNUTA GBM, we appeal to teachers:

  1. To ensure that the sentiments of the teachers in defense of the rotation system resonates through the institutional bodies and structures by ensuring that Centre and School bodies immediately adopt resolutions to that effect which are passed on to the Administration.

  1. To participate in large numbers in a protest demonstration at the Administrative Block on Friday, 22 April 2016 to demand answers from the Administration to its failure to respond to the series of issues raised by the JNUTA.

Ajay Patnaik

President

Bikramaditya K Choudhary

Secretary

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