They demanded that appropriate action be taken against the VCs.

Full text Academics write to TN governor condemning Vice Chancellors meeting SasikalaAIADMK
news Politics Saturday, December 24, 2016 - 13:49

22 academics from Tamil Nadu have written to the state governor Vidyasagar Rao condemning the meeting between 10 vice-chancellors of state universities and AIADMK General Secretary Sasikala last Monday.

Prominent names including Lakshmanan Chinnaiyan, Ananthkrishnan (former VC of Anna University) and Vasanthi Devi (former VC of MS University, Tirunelveli), S Janakarajan (MIDS), MG Devasahayam (retired IAS officer), Ajit Menon and DK Oza have signed the letter which calls the meeting “shameful and shocking conduct” on part of the VCs.

The VCs met Sasikala at Poes Garden last Monday, sparking political controversy. A picture of the meeting published in the AIADMK’s mouthpiece “Dr Namadhu MGR” stated that they had called on Sasikala to offer their condolences and that they also urged her to “take over the leadership mantle” from Jayalalithaa.

DMK Treasurer and leader of Opposition MK Stalin also expressed displeasure at the meeting and wrote to Vidyasagar Rao demanding the removal of the concerned VCs.

Stalin argued that the VCs meeting with Sasikala, who does not hold an official position, broke the rules of appointment, conduct and regulations attached to their positions.

Calling the act “unethical, unwarranted and unconstitutional”, Stalin insisted that action be taken to prevent “politicisation of the office of the Vice Chancellors and belittling the dignity of the autonomous status of the universities of the state.”

Education activist and director of Change India, A Narayanan had also condemned the meeting.

Here’s the text of the educationists’ letter to the Tamil Nadu governor, reproduced in full:

 

Greetings.

1. We, the Educationalists and concerned citizens of Tamil Nadu, are highly disturbed and dismayed over the shameful and shocking conduct of about 10 Vice Chancellors of State Universities calling on Tmt V.K.Sasikala, the friend / aide of demised former CM of Tamil Nadu, using the pretext of paying homage to the departed leader.

2. It is condemnable that the Vice Chancellors used the University office hours and tax payer’s money to travel from different parts of the State to meet with Tmt Sasikala, now being perceived as an extra-constitutional authority. It is all the more shameful that the VCs should behave like ruling political party cadres by giving an open appeal for Tmt Sasikala to take over the mantle of administration as the Chief Minister of the State. One of those who were part of the delegation is Dr.M.Baskaran, Vice-Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Open University. He is also the Chancellor nominee and Convener of the Search Committee constituted in November, 2016 for selecting the next Vice Chancellor for the prestigious Anna University. The sanctity, integrity and locus standi of the said Search Committee stands ‘completely compromised’ on account of the deviant and dubious action of the Convener of the said Search Committee.

3. Vice Chancellors are accorded a very high status in the society, because, they are considered as persons of high eminence, competence, integrity, morality and overall commitment for the institution and the academic community. Vice Chancellors are expected to be role models for students, faculty members and the society at large. That is why the UGC expects that persons who assume charge as vice-chancellors should be scholars of eminence.

4. However, UGC norms for Vice Chancellor selection are completely ignored in Public Universities in Tamil Nadu and there is a strong perception that Caste, political connections and of course, huge sums of money are the decisive criteria.

5. Many Commissions constituted in the past such as Radhakrishnan Commission (1948), Kothsri Commission (1964-66), Gnanam Committeee (1990) and Ramlal Parikh Committee (1993) have all emphasized that a Vice Chancellor to be appointed should be a distinguished educationist with a high degree of professionalism and integrity and an eminent scholar commanding high respect amongst all sections of the society. They emphasized that a Vice Chancellor is the most important functionary in an university, not only on the administrative front, but, is also entrusted with the responsibility of enduring a lawful academic atmosphere for teachers and students.

6. Therefore, we, the undersigned, condemn this highly objectionable occurrence in the State of Tamil Nadu and hope that your good-self in the capacity of Constitutional head of the state / Chancellor of Public Universities would initiate appropriate action in this regard.

7. We, now appeal to you that a) Written explanation / apology be sought from all those Vice Chancellors / Registrars who made the ‘political visit’ and if needed strong punitive action should be taken. b) The Governor-Chancellor Nominee / Convener of the Search Committee of Anna University be dropped and the Committee be reconstituted to restore confidence, c) UGC norms be strictly incorporated immediately in the statutes of all the universities for appointment of Search Committee as well as that of Vice Chancellor, d) Set in motion complete transparency and objectivity in the constitution of Search Committees and selection of Vice Chancellors.

8. We kindly bring to your attention that any further delay on the above measures will lead to perpetuating the injustice and betrayal of thousands of young men and women entering universities with lots of hope, enthusiasm and dreams of quality education in order to build their career advancements.

Thanking you.

Sincerely yours

 

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