St Stephen's Alumni Oppose Move to Change its Constitution

Published: 11th December 2015 07:04 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th December 2015 07:04 PM   |  A+A-


NEW DELHI: A group of alumni and teachers of St Stephen's College today opposed principal Valson Thampu's move to amend the 102-year-old Constitution of the premier institute, and said they will seek intervention of President Pranab Mukherjee and the HRD Minister in this regard.

Former test cricketer and an alumnus Kirti Azad described the present situation at his alma mater as "disgusting" and said the issue will be raised in Parliament by the MPs who are alumni of the college.

"There are at least 17 alumni of St Stephen's who sit in the Parliament. The issues including the non-democratic functioning of the college administration and proposed changes in the Constitution will be raised in Parliament on Monday," he said at a press briefing.

Thampu, who is retiring in February next year, had come up with a draft amendment in which he had proposed that the principal be empowered to take disciplinary action against students or staff irrespective of the Governing Body's opinion.

He also called for giving a major say to the Church of North India (CNI) in the functioning of the college, handing over the powers to appoint faculty and admissions to its Supreme Council (SC) and recasting the GB.

The amendment in the Constitution also proposed to replace St Stephen's College Trust, which currently runs the college, with a St Stephen's Educational Society that will have the power to establish Stephen's-like private institutions across the country.

While St Stephen's faculty as well as the staff association have rejected outrightly the proposed amendments and urged the GB to delay the process till the time Thampu has retired, the members of CNI have come out in support, contending the amendments will benefit students and the institution.

Several prominent alumni including Arjun awardee Raja Randhir Singh, former Union Minister Sandip Dikshit, BJD MP Kalikesh, Congress leader Sharmishtha Mukherjee, senior journalist Satish Jacob were present in the press conference.

College teacher and DUTA president Nandita Narayan said, "The amendments in the college Constitution were such as they would transfer all the powers concerning the assetts, academic and administrative, to the Society that doesn't have teacher representatives."

Demanding an "independent enquiry" into the move to change the Constitution, DUTA president Narain said that appointments for meeting the President, who is Visitor of the college, and HRD Minister Smriti Irani, will be sought to prevent the changes.

Meanwhile, the teachers association of St Stephen's in defiance of the college administration notice to refrain from holding elections of two teachers as Governing Body members, has elected Sanjiv Grewal and Rakhi Thareja as teachers representatives in the Board.

The returning officer of the election, Dr Vijay Tankha, announced the names of the elected teachers. He was issued notice by the chairman of College's Supreme Council and Governing Body of the Society, Warris K Masih, and warned to desist from going ahead with elections.


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