Former St Stephen's principal Valson Thampu, who was at loggerheads with the institution's alumni during his tenure, has kicked off a fresh controversy by blaming the college's poor ranking on "mediocre teachers".
A group of alumni have hit back, saying Thampu should claim responsibility if any "damage" has been done to the college affecting the recently-released National and Accreditation and Assessment (NAAC) ranking.
Despite being among the most sought after colleges in the country, the NAAC ranking of St Stephen's college has fallen below that of Zakir Hussain college and Acharya Narendra Dev college.
"Over the years, St Stephen's has allowed its native strengths to weaken. The faculty, barring a handful, are really mediocre. In saying this, I keep in mind my professional knowledge of the college over four decades.
"I have to say, many of the initiatives during my tenure were smothered by the faculty, who are so stuck in the birdlime of professional insecurity that they do not want to be exposed to academic challenges," Thampu said in a Facebook post.
The Association of Old Stephanians, an alumni group, condemned Thampu's statement as "dishonest" and "misleading".
"Thampu was principal for 8 years. How can he wash his hands off responsibility? His statement is dishonest and misleading. It is preposterous that a former principal blames former colleagues -- not just seniors and his contemporaries, but also younger ones he recruited," a statement issued by the alumni group said.
The alumni association has also urged the college's Supreme Council to take immediate action in this regard.
Thampu demitted office last year, marking end to an eight-year-long tenure which was marred by controversies and series of confrontations with the alumni.