The two assistant professors of Central University of Tamil Nadu were terminated last week for allowing girl students inside the hostel beyond the curfew time.

10 students of TN Central University go on hunger strike against sacking of professors
news Education Friday, February 15, 2019 - 18:46

Ten students belonging to the Central University of Tamil Nadu (CUTN) in Thiruvarur began an indefinite hunger strike on Friday demanding that the management revoke the termination of two assistant professors. This after the management terminated the two assistant professors, who also worked as resident wardens in the women’s hostels, for allowing girls students inside the hostel beyond the curfew time of 9.30pm.

It was on February 8 that the university terminated two assistant professors Aazhiyarasi and Saranya for alleged ‘misconduct’. The students were later informed in an open meeting with the Proctor and the Chief Warden about the management’s decision to terminate the two assistant professors.

On Friday, however, the issue snowballed into a bigger controversy as the students from the Department of English sat on an indefinite hunger strike demanding that the two terminated professors be brought back. The strike was amply supported by other students who stood with the cause.

Speaking to TNM about the issue, Veena* a postgraduate student in the university says that a few of the students who had one of the terminated professors as their project guide are now left in the lurch. “Regular faculty members had already said that they cannot take more students in. We have also spent around 2.5 months of solid work under these professors and now we don’t have much time left for the submission. In this juncture it is unfair to put us through this,” Veena laments.

In a meeting with the Registrar, S Bhuvaneswari and the Head of Department on February 11, the students urged them to revoke the termination because of the academic track record of the two professors.

“We also told the Registrar that both these teachers used to sit with us and help us prepare for the National Eligibility Test (NET) exams and that even if the university wanted to take action against them, they could have just stopped with firing them as resident wardens and not from the academic side,” rues Sriram*, another student. NET exams are qualification tests conducted to select candidates for the post of Assistant Professors in Indian universities.

However, the Registrar allegedly brushed the whole issue off by saying that the two teachers were just doing their duty by training the students to face the NET.

When the students accused the administration of being biased, sexist and repressive in their rules, the Registrar allegedly said time restrictions for women students exist only because they are “girls” and that it was a question about being careful.

Though Aazhiyarasi and Saranya have refused to speak to the media, the students want the university to reinstate both of them as Assistant Professors. “We want them both back, at least till the academic year is over. What the university is now doing is unjust and unfair to us,” the students said. They are also planning to continue their hunger strike till a favourable action is taken by the university, keeping the welfare of the students in mind.

The Registrar of the University confronted the striking students on Friday evening.The students were asked to withdraw the strike until the Vice-Chancellor reaches the University on Monday. However, the students refused to give up their indefinite fast until authorities put on hold the new recruitments to the posts of the and revoke the order of termination of the two assistant professors.

TNM’s efforts to reach the Registrar went unanswered.

Also read: Central University of TN relaxes curfew for women students in hostels after strike

*Names changed on request