JNU replaces seven chairpersons, deans; teachers, students protest
The Jawaharlal Nehru University administration on Thursday issued notification removing seven Chairpersons and Deans for not complying or refusing to implement the recent attendance system, triggering protests from teachers and students.
"This decision of removing professors has been taken in hurry and it is unfortunate that it happened in a manner where the Executive Committee gave power to the Vice-Chancellor to make a decision overnight," Sucheta Mahajan, who has been replaced as Chairperson of the Centre for Historical Studies, told the media.
"As far as taking a decision over the attendance of students, we never said that we will never follow the administration policy but we only demanded that it should be discussed taking in consideration the requirements of different Centres. What may be implemented in Masters programme may not be efficient in other researches courses... there are so many technical issues that need to be addressed," she said.
According to some protesters who assembled near the Faculty Centre in the afternoon shouting anti-administration slogans, these decisions are cumulatively "aimed at destroying the values of equality and social justice" that have long formed the bedrock of this university.
"It is an organized plan that has been implemented in a strategic manner. Earlier it was students who were penalized. Now, in the second phase, teachers are being targeted in order to send a message to the agitating students who are adamant in their disagreement with the rightwing forces," said Sudhir K Suthar, the Secretary of Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers' Association (JNUTA).
JNUTA President Sonajharia Minz said that a confused and chaotic academic-administrative environment has been deliberately created, using a multi-pronged strategy of creating rifts inside centers and schools, attempting intimidation of teachers through various means and completely sabotaging the democratic elements of the decision-making processes of the university.
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"For instance the Chairperson of Spanish has been placed as French Centre head as an additional charge... a teacher from the School of Languages, Literature and Culture Studies has been placed as the Dean of School of Arts and Aesthetics, the Dean of School of Social Sciences has been given the additional charge as the Chairperson of Economics Department," she said.
Mahajan said that a General Body Meeting scheduled for Friday will decide the future course of action over the replacement of the Chairpersons issue. "We will discuss it thoroughly and can then only take a decision over taking legal recourse," she said.