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Amid Protests, JNU Administration Holds Crucial Meeting but 'Fails' to Inform Teacher Representatives of Change in Venue

The three teacher representatives in the Executive Council meeting turned up at the scheduled venue only to find out nearly 3 hours later that the it would be held at another place 18 kilometres from JNU.


Updated:November 13, 2019, 3:29 PM IST
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Amid Protests, JNU Administration Holds Crucial Meeting but 'Fails' to Inform Teacher Representatives of Change in Venue
JNU Student Union stage mass protests near the venue of the third convocation for which Vice President Venkaiah Naidu has been invited as the chief guest.

New Delhi: Amid raging protests, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association and the Students’ Union on Wednesday issued a statement condemning the manner in which the varsity administration conducted the 283rd Executive Council meeting scheduled for today.

Teacher representatives alleged that they were given short notice about the change of venue.

According to the teacher’s representatives in the EC, Sachidanand Sinha, Moushumi Basu and Baviskar Sharad Pralhad they along with five other Deans had reached the venue at 10.00 am only to find that the Vice-Chancellor JNU VC M Jagadeesh Kumar and his team of Rectors and Registrar were a “no show”. “No External members were present either.”

The three members then tried to call the registrar and the VC’s office but did not get any response. “We waited till 10.40 without any news from the administration confirming where the meeting is being held. It was clear from the lack of preparedness in comparison to the usual arrangements taken for the Executive Council meeting that a decision had probably been taken to not hold the meeting at the venue. However, we as members of the Executive Council had not been informed of the change in venue,” the three members said in a statement.

What was even more strange was when at 11.15, the members were approached by a security official who told them to accompany him to an “undisclosed location, without any official communication of the same.”

The teachers’ representative also saw an email at around 12:40 pm that the administration had sent to some of the members informing them about the change in venue. The new address of the meeting was the Association of Indian Universities, AIU House, 16 Comrade Indrajit Gupta Marg, New Delhi. The time of the meeting had been rescheduled to 12.30 pm. “It was obviously not possible for the three of us to make our way to the meeting that was 18 kms away in 20 minutes,” the statement read.

Hence, the elected members felt deprived of their right to participate in the deliberations of the Executive Council on important matters concerning the university.

Following this, the teachers and students’ union issued a statement on the EC meeting, which was crucial as it enlisted several issues including the new IHA manual that proposes a fee hike, service charge, curfew hours and dress code.

The students and teachers also resolved to continue the agitation demanding rollback of the manual.

The JNU Teacher's Association (JNUTA) statement issued by the President D K Lobiyal and Secretary Surajit Mazumdar said that the teachers “condemn in the strongest terms the mockery that the JNU administration made of institutional processes today by reducing the meeting of the Executive Council into a farce utterly lacking in any legitimacy.”

The statement informed that three “elected teachers representatives and five Deans of Schools turned up for the meeting at the scheduled time and entered the meeting hall. However, no members representing the administration or the Registrar were present at the venue. Neither any of the external members of the Executive Council turned up at the venue.”

“Through his actions today the JNU VC has once again proved that he is utterly incapable of leading the University's administration and governance. We want to make it clear that no meeting held under these circumstances can be considered a properly convened meeting,” JNUTA members said.

The teachers are of the view that no decision taken at such a meeting can be considered lawful or valid. “JNUTA rejects completely this governance by subterfuge and reiterates its demand for the resignation of the VC.”

The teachers’ body is concerned about the “unlawful presence of police personnel in plainclothes inside the campus and the unwarranted locking of gates, which caused great inconvenience to residents.” This once again reflects the mindset of the JNU administration, which seeks to run the university by force and coercion. JNUTA warns that the JNU Community will not accept this.

On the other hand, JNUSU condemned the JNU VC as he “has abdicated all sense of responsibility to the university by shifting the EC meeting to an ‘undisclosed location’ without any prior information to the EC members.”

The EC members are said to have been taken to the changed venue of the meeting in a car.

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