The Jawaharlal Nehru University teachers association (JNUTA) contended that the administration on Monday organized a meeting of the executive council (EC) — the supreme decision-making body of JNU— and passed several controversial decisions, which comprise a reduction in financial assistance to students to attend seminars, without any discussion.
In a statement, the teachers’ body asserted that JNUTA has learned as to how the vice-chancellor climbed through the agendas, which contained significant items, without allowing some of the elected representatives a chance to speak. While the autocratic style is unethical by itself, the fact that it is being done by a vice-chancellor whose term is officially coming to an end renders it all the more troubling.
JNU vice-chancellor Jagadesh Kumar’s term is expiring on January 26 on an official account. Despite several attempts, Kumar did not respond to calls and messages.
The elected teacher representative of the executive council, Atul Sood, also composed a letter to his colleagues alleging that the microphones of all members were muted by the chat admin. The only way for any member to speak, or even to communicate his/her desire to speak to the chair, was to raise his/her hand in front of the camera. Our hands were not noticed for virtually every agenda item by the chair in both the meetings held so far.
Sood alleged that several judgments were passed without any discussion and debate. The controversial conclusions that impact the fortune of the students and teachers of the university include approval of utilization of corpus fund, by which the head ‘participation by faculty in seminars’ has been cut back by three-fourths, support to EWS students is lessened by two thirds, and financial assistance to students for participation in conferences is reduced across schools from 50 to 80 percent. As the discussion was not allowed, we could not even put forward the issue of how these funds can be used for delivering support to needy students to enhance access to online education, he said.
A senior official at the university explained that Some people were trying to disrupt the meeting and were putting up topics other than the agenda items. That’s why some people were muted. Besides, all these decisions they are discussing were not on the agenda.