Arvind Subramanian resigns as professor from Ashoka University

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New Delhi, Mar 18 (PTI) Eminent economist Arvind Subramanian has resigned as professor from Ashoka University, two days after noted political commentator Pratap Bhanu Mehta's exit from the institution.

Subramanian, former chief economic advisor, had joined Ashoka University as a professor in the Department of Economics in July 2020.

'Dr. Subramanian has resigned,' a senior faculty member of Sonipat (Haryana) based Ashoka University said.

A query sent to Ashoka University regarding the resignation remained unanswered till the filing of the story.

Subramanian was appointed Chief Economic Advisor on October 16, 2014, for a period of three years and was given an extension in 2017. However, he quit the job with close to one year of his tenure remaining and returned to the US. Subramanian's official contract was till May 2019. Meanwhile, faculty members at the Ashoka University in Sonipat have written to the vice chancellor and board members, expressing anguish over noted political commentator Pratap Bhanu Mehta's resignation as a professor from the university. The alumni council of the university has also released a separate statement expressing solidarity with Mehta, who stepped down as the VC two years ago and resigned as a professor earlier this week.

The faculty members in the letter stated that Mehta's exit has set a 'chilling precedent for future removals of faculty' and is a 'matter of great anguish'. 'In light of media reports that circulated before the official announcement of Professor Mehta's departure from the university, it seems quite plausible that his resignation was a direct consequence of his role as a public intellectual and critic of the government. We are greatly troubled by this scenario,' the letter said.

'Mehta's resignation is not just an occasion for sorrow over the departure of a deeply respected and admired colleague. It also raises urgent questions about the university's commitment to academic freedom as well as its internal processes. Even more troubling is the possibility that our university may have acceded to pressure to remove Professor Mehta or to request, and accept, his resignation,' it added.

'We request the university to ask Professor Mehta to rescind his resignation. We also request that the university clarify its internal protocols of faculty appointment and dismissal, and reinforce its institutional commitment to the principles of academic freedom,' the letter said.

The Ashoka University Student Government, Alumni Council and other members of the university community released a separate statement expressing solidarity with Mehta. Ashoka University is a private liberal arts university and it describes itself as 'a pioneer' in its focus on providing a liberal education at par with the best in the world.

The university claims that it helps students become well-rounded individuals who can think critically about issues from multiple perspectives, communicate effectively and become leaders with a commitment to public service. PTI BKS GJS ANZ MR