Anna University Chancellor MK Surappa had written to the Centre over getting the Institute of Eminence tag without allegedly consulting the state government.

Anna University buildingWIKI COMMONS/SIVAHARI
news Education Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - 18:56

Anna University Vice-Chancellor MK Surappa’s letter to the Union government regarding Anna University’s Institute of Eminence (IoE) tag continues to elicit criticism from many in Tamil Nadu. DMK Chief MK Stalin on Monday condemned the VC’s letter and demanded Surappa’s sacking following which several other political leaders also expressed a similar view. Hashtags #Dismiss_Surappa  and #SaveAnnaUniversity were trending on Twitter on Tuesday.

Stalin had questioned how the VC made his decision without consulting with the state government. MDMK General Secretary Vaiko also wrote a letter on similar lines demanding the state government protect the 69% reservation in the University.

In his letter, written with a possible intent to expedite the IoE tag, Surappa had said that the university had internal means to generate Rs 1,570 crore in five years. He had implied that the university did not need financial aid from the state government. The IoE tag comes with a Rs 1,000-crore grant from the Union government to the university over a five-year period. This amount is split between the state and the Centre of which the state government is responsible to pay half of it, i.e. Rs 500 crore.

Surappa’s letter to the Union government is being seen as an attempt by the Centre to “hijack the university” and interfere with the State’s 69% reservation system in the university. According to reports, while the state government expressed its inability to guarantee the expected funds to the university in case of IoE status, the government said that it will implement the tag if the union government provided the entire amount.

Meanwhile, Anna University Teachers’ Association (AUTA) has written a letter in support of Surappa on Tuesday. “The Anna University Teachers' Association (AUTA) reposes full faith in our Honourable Vice-Chancellor and has confidence in his leadership,” they stated. “The report portraying the issue as a tug-of-war between the Centre & the State, and the State & the Vice-Chancellor is far from truth. The issue is whether or not the powerful players are willing to allow Anna University comprising the four prestigious campuses to survive with the same name and grow. loE is just an added credit to Anna University whereas the Tamil Nadu Government's reservation policy is bound to continue,” it added.

AUTA’s statement is a direct reference to its letter to Tamil Nadu Governor, written against the state government’s Bill to give a new name to Anna University. According to the Bill, the University would be bifurcated into two bodies – Anna Technological and Research University, and Anna University, both with two different responsibilities.

Also read: Anna Univ VC writes to Centre, asks to retain offer of IoE for the institution

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