JNUTA Letter to the JNU Vice Chancellor, March 4

4 March 2016

 

Prof. M. Jagadesh Kumar

The Vice Chancellor,

Jawaharlal Nehru University

 

Dear Professor Kumar,
On 22 February 2016 when you met the teachers and through various representations before and after, the teachers of JNU have repeatedly urged you to stand up and defend the University from the vicious attack unleashed against it and everything it stands for. From the very beginning we have urged you to assert the autonomy of the University but have repeatedly found the actions of the University Administration under your leadership not only falling short of the requirement but even complicit in the process of the assault on JNU. The failure to establish a credible enquiry process into the incidents of 9th February 2016 and the encouragement received by the officiating Registrar to actively betray the interests of the University and act as a tool for those slandering JNU are two glaring expressions of this failure.

May we remind you that the JNUTA had raised before you several demands with regard to the enquiry process. However, other than adding two members to the original enquiry committee the Administration has done precious little to inspire the confidence of teachers and students that an impartial and fair enquiry will take place. The demand for having an SC/ST representative on the committee has been summarily dismissed. Our demands for withdrawal of the irrational suspension from academic activities of eight students and for beginning of the enquiry process afresh have also been ignored despite these also being obvious steps that should have followed from an expansion of the enquiry committee. Unbelievably, the terms of reference of the High Level Enquiry Committee have also not been notified publicly even as no effort has been forthcoming from the University Administration to get the cases of sedition and criminal conspiracy against students withdrawn. We, the teachers of JNU, are here today to demand answers.

We are also aghast at your decision to not only extend the term of the officiating Registrar but also appoint him as nodal officerof the University for the purpose of coordination with MHRD and reply of Parliamentary questions. This action of the University Administration shows the utter contempt it has for the sentiments of the teaching community and for the statutes of the University. Not only has the Officiating Registrar since 9th February consistently betrayed the responsibilities to the University that the statutes entrust his office with, the extension of his term till 31 March 2016 would also be a violation of the University’s statutes and ordinances which specify 62 years as the age of retirement of even a regular Registrar (these are further elaborated in the appended note). May we remind you in this regard that the JNUTA had already brought to your attention the extremely negative role played by the Officiating Registrar and the terrible damage they have done to JNU and demanded that he be removed from the position as Officiating Registrar. Unfortunately, instead of checking the misuse of the office of the Registrar under his charge, your support has only emboldened him to continue to betray the interests of the University. His continuation in office has thus only made it more impossible for anyone to be confident about the fairness of the University’s enquiry process. Today we are here to express forcefully our sentiment that continuation in office of the current Officiating Registrar is completely unacceptable to us and to demand from you an explanation for your encouragement to him.

Terrible damage has already been done to this great University in the last few weeks, so soon after you assumed the office of the Vice Chancellor. We know that the primary responsibility for repairing this damage lies on our collective shoulders. Today we are here to ultimately ask a simple question of you – are you with us in this endeavour or will history eventually remember you as the one who was at the helm of affairs when the University’s leadership utterly failed the University at the time of one of its biggest crises? We expect your answer not merely through words but through your deeds.

Regards,
(Ajay Patnaik)

President

(Bikramaditya Choudhary)

Secretary

 

 

 

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