news Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 05:30
When students are caught engaging in plagiarism, the college in question usually engages in stringent action. But how does one react when the offender turns out to be the Vice Chancellor of one of India’s main Central Universities? Over the previous weekend, over two hundred faculty members of the Pondicherry University picketed outside incumbent Vice Chancellor, Chandra Krishnamurthy’s office calling for her ouster over a series of academic violations.  Interestingly, the protest saw no dearth in drama, police were deployed this time to contain the protesting faculty, while students turned up in large numbers in support of their teachers. “She is behaving in an autocratic manner. She has no respect for the rules for the University. She has handpicked some people and installed them in key positions,” said Dastagiri Reddy, the secretary of the Pondicherry University Teachers’ Association. "Important positions like that of the Registrar, Finance Officer, and the director in the University were given to people handpicked by the VC. Now, they are filled with faculty who are in temporary positions", he said. According to a university source, the VC was accused by staff of statutory violations. “She has been giving only appointments to those favourable to her", he said. A bogus CV A resume that made its way to the President of India’s desk, the incumbent VC of Pondicherry University has been accused of falsifying her accomplishments. Not only were major portions of her book, Legal education in India, copied verbatim from papers written by legal professionals, two other books mentioned as authored by her may not have been published at all.  The one book accused of plagiarism was then withdrawn by the publication after a report by PUTA alleged that 98 per cent of the book had been found to be plagiarised based on a test using Turnitin, a software used to check the authenticity of students’ theses. When former registrar, Rajeev Yaduvanshi, made complaints against irregularities by the VC, a fact-finding committee was formed to investigate into the claims. Even before the findings of the report were out, the registrar was repatriated to his parent department after a clearance by the MHRD themselves. While the order itself was done without the advance notice mandatory for repatriation, Yaduvanshi was moved out and is currently working in the Andaman.  Appointment issue Appointment of the VC is done by the President of India based on a list of at least three persons who are presented for selection in alphabetical order. However, when former Union minister Pallam Raju forwarded his list of three eligible candidates for the post of VC at the Pondicherry university, he added an additional recommendation for Chandra Krishnamurthy. According to an RTI reply, the former minster had forwarded a file to the President stating that 'Prof Chandra Krishnamurthy may be appointed as vice chancellor'. Not only did the appointment violate basic rules, it also went against UGC guidelines requiring the eligible VC to have a minimum of 10 years experience as a professor at a university.   Deafening silence by the Central Government An issue that began with Chandra Krishnamurthy’s skewed appointment as VC of the Pondicherry University in Feb 2013, more worrisome than the charges of plagiarism against her, has been the deafening silence maintained by the Central government on the issue. A petition has been filed by the Joint Action Committe, formed by different associations at the Puducherry University to HRD minister Smriti Irani calling for action based on the finding of the report submitted three weeks back. “We asked her to include the charges of plagiarism in terms of reference in the fact finding committee. She said I don’t want to disturb the fact finding committee.”said Reddy. We have written a number of letters to the MHRD, however till date there has been no response on the same, he said.