Romila Thapar row: JNUTA wants administration to retract letter and apologise

The Association also took a swipe at the varsity's statement that the process of review of Professors Emeriti was in line with international practices followed in Princeton and MIT.

Published: 04th September 2019 12:15 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th September 2019 12:15 AM   |  A+A-

Noted historian Romila Thapar (File | Albin Mathew, EPS)


NEW DELHI: The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers' Association on Tuesday accused the varsity administration of spreading "blatant falsehood" on its letter to historian Romila Thapar asking her to submit her CV and demanded that it immediately retract such letters sent to 12 professors emeriti, besides tendering personal apology.

The JNU administration's decision to ask historian Romila Thapar to submit her CV for assessment for her continuation as professor emerita had drawn sharp criticism from various quarters with JNUTA terming it "politically motivated", following which the university registrar on Monday said that there are 11 others who have also been asked to submit their CVs.

READ | Not just Romila Thapar, JNU asked 10 others for CV

The university had said it was done with the objective of ascertaining Thapar's "availability" and "willingness" to continue her "association with the University" and not to assess her for continuation.

The JNUTA on Tuesday released the letter sent by the varsity to Thapar, saying it was doing so to counter "such blatant falsehood".

It noted that the subject line of the "offensive letter" read, 'Assessment of Past Work of Professor Emeritus in Jawaharlal Nehru University for the committee to decide on continuation'.

This "is all the evidence needed to expose the true intentions of the JNU administration", the JNUTA said in a letter "The JNUTA finds it laughable that the current JNU administration thinks that confessing to an insult on a larger scale counts as a defence.

... by casting its net wide across several Professors Emeriti, the JNU Registrar has initiated a process of bringing JNU's past before its Executive Council, so that it can proceed to undo it entirely," the JNUTA said.

READ | Romila Thapar row: Government denies move to axe any professor emeritus

The body demanded that all such letters to Professors Emeriti issued by the JNU Registrar be immediately retracted, any review of their performance put to an end, and a personal apology be tendered to each of them.

The JNUTA said the varsity administration is claiming that its action is as per Ordinance 32 of JNU. "But the fact is that the procedure of appointment of Professors Emeriti, that the Registrar has used in his communication, is only a part of the Rules and Regulation that has been added/amended in the Executive Council meeting under this Vice-Chancellor on August 23, 2018," it said.

The Association also took a swipe at the varsity's statement that the process of review of Professors Emeriti was in line with international practices followed in Princeton and MIT.

"While the allusions to those institutions' rules regarding emeritus appointments were entirely misplaced, as neither mentions any sort of review at the threshold of 75 years of age, the JNUTA is heartened to see that at last international best practices in university governance have surfaced as points of reference for the JNU administration," the teachers' association said.

The JNUTA advised the varsity administration to consult the rules of top international universities in issues like biometric attendance, online examination format, promotion of faculty etc.

"The JNUTA hopes that after such an exercise the JNU administration will come to learn that a respectful and lawful treatment of faculty, both in service and retired, is the first principle university governance must be founded on," it said.

After JNUTA's criticism, the university had said it was following its ordinance "in letter and spirit" in the appointment of professor emeritus at JNU.

"As per the ordinance, the university is required to write to all those who have attained the age of 75 years to know their availability and willingness to continue their association with the university.

Letters have been written only to those emeritus professors who fall in this category," it said.

The HRD Ministry on Monday clarified that there was no move by JNU to discontinue anyone's professor emeritus status and only the standard procedures were being followed.



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