Before tensions rose on Tuesday morning on the University of Hyderabad campus, Vice Chancellor Appa Rao Podile released a press note justifying his return to the campus at the end of nearly two months of leave.
In the note, Appa Rao says that it was his decision to leave the campus in January to reduce tensions on campus and to ensure that celebrations of Republic Day could proceed unhindered, and then to ‚Äúwait for the judicial commission and police to collect information.‚ÄĚ
Although the University had an acting VC, he says, there were some urgent decisions that had to be taken immediately such as pending recruitment, promotions, and on the choice-based credit system (CBCS). ‚ÄúAs the in-charge VC was not empowered to take up such matters, faculty, staff and administrative officials desired that I should terminate my leave immediately and resume charge.‚ÄĚ A delay in resuming charge would likely damage the reputation of the University, he says.
The note further says that Appa Rao was shocked to hear of the news of Rohith Vemula‚Äôs suicide, and that although he tried to express solidarity with Rohith‚Äôs family, they were not interested in meeting him outside the campus.
As a teacher, as a father who has two sons, and also as a VC, I was highly depressed with loss of a young life in our University. I have not been able to digest that Mr. Rohith is no more because he was also my student in microbiology. I should not venture to find the reasons, because I am not an expert in the area. Finally, the police and judiciary system will bring out the facts,‚ÄĚ reads the note.
The note then urges that the whole incident should be seen from the institutional point of view. The Executive Council (EC) of the university is bound by statutory provisions that dictate its functioning. ‚ÄúThe actions of EC are not above legal scrutiny‚Ä¶ People who believe in the ‚ÄėConstitution of India‚Äô have to have the patience to get the verdict from the Court(s) on matters where there is dispute with EC. We are not supposed to open matters that are subjudice.‚ÄĚ
The note also condemns any obstruction of the work of duly-appointed officials saying that such actions disrespect the constitution. ‚ÄúSuch practices will only pave the way for anarchy in the academic institutions.‚ÄĚ
The note then goes on to say that while UoH has been among the top-ranking institutions in the country, in recent times its ranking has been slipping and that is a cause for concern. ‚ÄúThese are nothing but danger signals for the University to be highly conscious on the ways to retain the hard earned reputation. We have to push one step up where we can get into decent global rankings‚Ä¶ The onus lies on us to put concerted efforts in that direction with active participation from faculty, staff and students in a tripartite association.‚ÄĚ
After listing out a set of achievements under his tenure, Appa Rao finally ends the note with an appeal to ‚Äúrespect the constitutional machinery‚Ä¶ To prove the facts, I filed a quash petition in the High Court, and will respect the court verdict. Similarly, I would urge upon faculty, students, non-teaching staff, alumni, social workers, and other well-wishers of this university (with potential for excellence) to wait until all the facts become public through police and judicial system.‚ÄĚ