JNU teachers' association condemns 'blatant display of autocratic powers' by interim VC

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New Delhi, Mar 22 (PTI) The JNU Teachers' Association (JNUTA) condemned the 'blatant display of autocratic powers' by interim vice chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar and alleged that he denied former deans and chairpersons their right to table their opinion at the 157th academic council meeting on Monday.

In a statement released after the meeting, the teachers' body said Kumar 'allowed only some select members to speak'.

'JNUTA strongly condemns the blatant display of autocratic powers by the Caretaker Vice Chancellor in the conduct of the 157th Academic Council meeting held today,' it said.

'Having already dispensed with the courtesy of calling representatives of teacher and student associations to AC meetings, Prof. Jagadesh Kumar today once again demonstrated his open disdain for participatory and deliberative processes of decision making by denying certain members of the Academic Council, including former Deans and Chairpersons, their right to table their opinion even once, despite consistent raising of hands during the course of the two and a half hour long meeting,' the association alleged.

It added that certain members of the academic council were specifically asked to speak even when they did not voluntarily raise their hands.

The teachers' association claimed that during the meeting, no discussion was held over the academic calendar, revised student intakes for programmes following the discontinuation of MPhil degree, and the 2021-22 JNU Entrance Examinations being held under the aegis of the National Testing Agency.

'The caretaker Vice Chancellor it may be noted did not accede to the written request made by 23 Academic Council members for a deliberation on the NTA administered JNUEE process at the meeting, and when one of the members present sought to orally raise the issue, he bluntly referred to the matter as a 'closed chapter',' it said.

The teachers' association also alleged that the university was awarding PG Diploma in Management (Finance) and PG Diploma in Management (Financial Management) to students passing out of the Arun Jaitley National Institute of Financial and Management (AJNIFM) for 'revenue generation', a practice that JNU has never considered before.

'JNUTA was shocked to learn that the justification of 'revenue generation' being provided by the Rector and other senior officials for the award of the above degrees by JNU. ...never before has revenue generation figured as a consideration for deciding upon institutions that JNU would offer degrees to,' it said.

It added that the agenda papers did not have any information on the profile of the AJNIFM, which goes to show 'how opaque an exercise decision making on academic matters has become under Prof. Jagadesh Kumar'.

Kumar was allowed to continue in the office, beyond the expiry of his term on January 26, till a successor is appointed, according to Education Ministry officials. PTI MAH SNE