Makkal Kalvi Kootiyakam condemns Salem Periyar University V-C's extension

"A case which was filed against the V-C by the Salem city police additional commissioner is also pending with the Madras High Court.
Periyar University staff protested on the campus demanding Thangavelu’s suspension as per the higher education department order, in Salem. Image used for representative purposes only
Periyar University staff protested on the campus demanding Thangavelu’s suspension as per the higher education department order, in Salem. Image used for representative purposes onlyExpress photo

MADURAI: Makkal Kalvi Kootiyakam, a forum focussing on higher education, condemned Governor RN Ravi's order extending the tenure of Salem Periyar University Vice Chancellor Jagannathan, in spite of the numerous charges pending against the official.

In a press statement issued on Monday, Makkal Kalvi Kootiyakam coordinators Prof R Murali, Prof VArasu, Prof P Sivakumar, Kanakurinji and S Uma Maheshwari said the governor extended Jagannathan's tenure for one more year (till May 19, 2025), after rejecting the state government's proposal, which was sent 15 days in advance, to appoint a new vice chancellor.

Several allegations, including irregularities in appointment of assistant professors, non-observance of reservation in case of the appointments of librarian and physical education director, rule violations, setting up of a private company (Periyar University Technology Entrepreneurship and Research Foundation), among others, were levelled against the V-C, who was also arrested last year, stated the forum members.

"A case which was filed against the V-C by the Salem city police additional commissioner is also pending with the Madras High Court. Higher Education Department Additional Secretary S Palanichamy and Joint Secretary Ilango Henridas have already conducted an inquiry into the matter. As the chancellor, the Governor should have dismissed the V-C when he was arrested. However, after Jagannathan was out on bail, the Governor met with him in person in Salem, and now has extended his tenure," they pointed out.

Condemning the power abuse involved in protecting the guilty official, the members said such behaviour disrupted the fabric of the university and eroded the confidence of students and professors. "The one-year extension given to Jagannathan should be revoked and a search committee should be formed to appoint a new vice-chancellor," they added. 

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