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Vice-Chancellor Kumar breached conventions, say JNU emeritus professors

NEW DELHI: Jawaharlal Nehru University's Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar was accused by seven emeritus professors over breaching conventions and ignoring objections of the faculty over the decisions taken by him on Thursday.
The professors – Romila Thapar, Prabhat Patnaik, Zoya Hasan, Utsa Patnaik, H S Gill, Deepak Nayyar and Anil Bhatti – in a statement said that the decisions taken by Kumar were contradictory to the "established procedures".
"This is not the way JNU has functioned in the past, when the V-Cs' decisions pertaining to schools and centres followed established procedures and had the support of faculty," they said.
"In the past the conventions have not only protected academic quality, but also ensured academic autonomy in its functioning," they said, adding that Kumar ignored objections from the faculty.
The V-C was accused of breaching convention by appointing a professor as the dean of the School of Social Sciences by superseding five seniors.
"No V-C has in the past repeatedly gone against procedures of functioning. This is far too arbitrary an action to be passed over lightly," the statement read.
The professors said this action is another among the many arbitrary actions regularly taken by the JNU administration over the last couple of years.
Recently, the chairperson of Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory, Prof Nivedita Menon was removed for alleged misbehaviour, which raised many eyebrows.
Selection committees, chosen as per convention by the V-C from a panel provided by the department concerned, are being governed by other persons with no apparent necessary expertise.
Moreover, selection committees are reportedly being advised not to appoint candidates who have been
educated at JNU, effectively negating the academic worth of the varsity.
The professors added that the functioning of the university system, considered one of the best in India, is being destroyed.

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