Nalanda University Chancellor George Yeo on Friday resigned from his post citing government interference, ANI reported. In a statement, he said that when he joined the institute, he was “repeatedly assured that the University would have autonomy. This appears not to be the case now”. He was appointed to the post in July 2015.
He said the university did not consult with him about its decision to dissolve the Governing Board and form a new one. He said it came as a surprise to him and the previous members of the Board. “When I was appointed, I was told that a new Governing Board would be formed under an amended Act, core aspects of which the Ministry of External Affairs sought my views on. The amended Act would have removed a major flaw in the current Act which in essence offers Governing Board seats to East Asian Summit countries making the highest financial contributions in the last three years,” Yeo said, according to The Indian Express. He said the government had requested the Nalanda Mentor Group to continue functioning as the Governing Board for a number of years until the Act could be amended.
Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen quit as a Chancellor at the institute in February 2015. He has also resigned from the Governing Board after being associated with the university since its inception in 2007. Sen criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party government after stepping down. “The government can turn an academic issue into a matter of political dispensation if it feels unrestrained about interfering,” he said in a letter to the members of the Governing Board.