The head of Christ University’s new campus on Bannerghatta Road, is "autocratic" says the former assistant professor of economics who was allegedly forced to resign last week.
The assistant professor was forced to resign after he raised questions about new rules that lecturers had been asked to enforce.
"While there were rules in the main campus too, my concern was why was it more stringent in the new campus," he asks. He has been working in the University for the past eight months, but the problem cropped up in the new campus which he joined when it started two months ago.
According to the new rules, announced during a faculty meeting on July 25, students of Social Sciences will be required to follow rules that were earlier applicable to management students, like a formal dress code and 85% attendance.
"It is so autocratic, that the head says 'as long as I am here, my rules apply'," he told The News Minute.
The professor says he was opposed to the blanket rule on all departments in the new campus.
“There is a pedagogical difference between the Social Sciences and Management courses. Social Sciences students need to be free thinkers. They aren't going to sit for corporate jobs or necessarily need to be shaved. These rules did not apply to them in the main campus. My concern was the difference in rules in the Bannerghatta campus,” he explains.
He also says that students were unnecessarily questioned in the new campus.
“If there is an 85% attendance rule, as long as the student meets the target there is no need to question them. Why are students then being asked why they were late or why they are not in class. If the students do not want to attend a class they like, as long as they have the required attendance, they should not be questioned,” he says.
A former student of Christ himself, he says that he never had any problem then. But if he was a student now, he would feel "supressed", he says.
The professor was also opposed to making teachers announce the management’s decision to the students.
"Instead of making professors announce it to students, I asked that the authorities who had made the new changes should go to the classes and inform the students directly. I placed my concerns before them - that is to not make us repeat irrelevant things in class," he says.
Teachers are frequently asked to repeat existing college rules concerning dress code and attendance in classes, he says.
"The uniform dress code has been mentioned in the Code of Conduct. You don't need to keep rubbing it in. Besides, these rules did not initially apply to Social Science students," he says.
Not only does this take up important class time, he says, his students often "retaliated" in front of him, raising questions about the management's decisions.
The same week, a university student's blog titled "Dear Christ University, I Cannot Fly"- went viral. The student wrote against the college's decision to conduct classes even when there was a state-wide strike by public transport employees.
On July 27, the professor shared the link of the blog on the teachers' WhatsApp group. "With all the rubbish that runs around in the group, I don't know why my post received the attention it did. Besides, the post had already gone viral and it was not like I was specifically extending my support to their cause," he says.
The very next day, he was asked to leave. Instead of being dismissed by the institution, he was "asked to write the resignation”. "It happened in a meeting where everyone was supposed to voice their opinions.”
Sometimes he wonders, if the head, who has been working “according to her whims and fancies”, is trying to prove a point. He hasn't been contacted by anyone in the University till now, and he is waiting for his salary and documents from them.
“I was just told ‘we want you to leave’. I was never given a reason for it,” he says.