NEW DELHI: The open confrontation between Jawaharlal Nehru University Teacher’s Association (JNUTA) and Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar touched a new low with the teachers’ body deciding to conduct a ‘referendum’ on Tuesday on whether the VC should be removed.
The teachers’ body has charged the VC with “steadily pushing the varsity towards a path of destruction” and turning it into a “teaching shop”.
There are about 600 faculty at the university and JNUTA is hoping that over 500 of them will turn up for the referendum that will be conducted through secret ballot on Tuesday.
Criticising the VC’s tenure, the teachers invoked the founding principles of JNU in a statement on Monday, saying “JNU was built with objectives of a socially, economically and a gender-just university and also achieved exceptional academic record much before joining of the present Vice Chancellor, into an authoritarian teaching shop.”
JNUTA secretary Sudhir Suthar said, “The teachers are experiencing heartburn for openly dissenting to the ideas and agendas presented by the VC. This is a landmark moment in our struggle against the VC.”
The teachers alleged they were not consulted before taking important decisions like making all entrance examinations to JNU objective and exclusively online and introducing the biometric system for marking faculty’s attendance.
The immediate trigger for the referendum is a proposal where the university has decided to apply for a loan of Rs 515 crore from the newly set up Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA).
This loan, flowing from the concept of “graded autonomy”, places the University in an unprecedented situation of indebtedness, the teachers’ body said adding that while the VC would leave in some years, the university would be left in huge debt for years to come.