The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association called for a protest against what they described as the authoritarian functioning of the varsity administration. A statement issued by the association said that the teachers will launch a “Satyagraha” from March 19, including a hunger strike.
The call for protests comes as the university administration removed deans and chairpersons of various departments over the last two days for not complying with the institute’s compulsory attendance system at their respective centres.
The teachers’ association demanded that the vice chancellor immediately withdraw the notification of removal of these faculty members and reinstate them. It accused the administration of indulging in several illegalities, including appointments, harassment of individual teachers and wardens and bypassing the Academic Council.
The association’s statement said: “If these illegal circulars are not withdrawn till Wednesday [March 21], the teachers will have no option but to intensify their struggle.”
The statement said: “There have been a series of violations of statutes and acts of the university. The removal [of faculty members] has occurred in the backdrop of attempts being made to convert the higher decision-making bodies of the university [such as Selection Committees, Academic Council and Executive Council] where deans and chairpersons are ex-officio members into compliant bodies.”
The association said the removal of members is also an attempt to crush the difference of opinion on various academic matters. The teachers’ association said the administration’s move comes at a time when all centres and schools in the varsity are in the middle of entrance processes for M.Phil/PhD programmes. “There have also been attempts to destroy the reservation policy by blindly applying various rules such as increasing MPhil-PhD minimum cut off marks and delinking the MPhil-PhD programmes.”
The teachers’ body has also given a call for a protest march on Saturday.
The university management issued a circular in December 2017, saying it was planning to make 75% attendance for all courses compulsory. On Tuesday, the varsity set up an inquiry committee against department heads who had complained to the administration against the attendance rule, and then removed seven of them as well as a coordinator.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union on Thursday called the administration’s decision to remove department heads and a coordinator for not complying with the institute’s compulsory attendance system “extremely dangerous” and dictatorial.