‘Resorting to falsehood for political mileage,’ VCs open letter to Rahul Gandhi

The letter comes after the Congress leader had alleged that the selection process to key academic posts in prominent universities was biased.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. File photo.

NEW DELHI: More than 180 academics, including former and current vice-chancellors, have signed an open letter to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, accusing him of resorting to falsehoods regarding the appointment process for university heads and have sought legal action against him.

The university heads expressed concern over "tweets and open sources of Rahul Gandhi" which according to them alleged that the "appointment of Vice Chancellors is made solely on the basis of affiliation with some organisation rather than on the basis of merit and qualification."

This "thereby questioned the merit of the process through which the Vice Chancellors are appointed," the open letter signed by 181 current and former VCs said.

“The process by which Vice Chancellors are selected is characterised by stringent, transparent rigorous procedures grounded on values of meritocracy, scholarly distinction, and integrity. The selection has been completely based on academic and administrative prowess and with a vision to take universities ahead,” they said.

The letter comes after the Congress leader had alleged that the selection process to these posts was biased.

The letter, dated May 5, is signed by Jawaharlal University Vice Chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit, Delhi University VC Yogesh Singh and AICTE Chairman T G Sitharam and National Educational Technology Forum Chairman, Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe,  Dr Sandhya Purecha, Chairman, Sangeet Natak Akademi, NCERT Director, Prof. D P Sakalani among others.

“In view of the fact that Shri Rahul Gandhi has resorted to falsehood and has defamed the office of the Vice Chancellors at large with the intent to derive political mileage out of it. It is therefore, earnestly prayed that appropriate action be taken against  him forthwith in accordance with law,” the said.

In the letter, they “strongly urged all individuals involved to exercise discernment in distinguishing fact from fiction, to abstain from spreading unfounded rumours, and to participate in dialogue that is well-informed, constructive, and supportive of our shared goal of creating a dynamic and inclusive educational environment.”

"We would like to reaffirm our steadfast dedication to the principles of meritocracy, integrity, and excellence within the realm of higher education. As a collective initiative, let us persistently strive to maximize the impact of our educational establishments as catalysts for societal change and facilitators of advancement," the four-page letter said.

"The array of academic disciplines and professional experiences represented amongst us stands as evidence of the unbiased and inclusive nature of the selection procedure. It reflects their dedication to cultivating an atmosphere that values and promotes diversity, encourages independent thinking, and supports scholastic achievement,” they added.

Highlighting that universities in India have undergone a significant transition, they said it is evident in their ascent in global rankings, prominent accreditations, world class research and innovations, curriculum facelift narrowing the industry academia gap and higher placement prospects reaffirming their commitment to academic quality and societal relevance.

Among the signatories to the letter are Prof G D Sharma, President, Association of Indian Universities and VC, USTM, Meghalaya; Vinay Pathak, VC, CSJM University, Kanpur; Bhagwati Prakash Sharma, Chancellor, Pacific University, Udaipur; N.C. Gautam, former VC, Mahatma Gandhi Gramodaya Vishvavidyalaya, Chitrakoot; Alok Chakkarval, VC, Guru Ghasidas Central University, Bilaspur, Vinay Kapoor, former VC, BR Ambedkar National Law University, Sonipat and Chairman National Book Trust, Prof. Milind Marathe.

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