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Massive Corruption Alleged in Faculty Appointments in JNU

The Students Union accused the VC of having indulged in “blatant manipulation of faculty selection committees”.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) has accused the JNU administration of indulging in corruption in faculty appointments in the University. Overlooking deserving candidates, allegedly incompetent and undeserving candidates have been selected to various faculty posts.

The most controversial of these appointments is that of a candidate who allegedly possesses only an MA degree to the position of Assistant Professor at the Centre for Linguistics. A JNUSU release dated 7 July 2017 (Friday) said the candidate was selected in spite of the presence of several other candidates who have doctoral degrees and excellent academic credentials. Informed sources told Newsclick that the candidate – allegedly a former member of the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) from the University of Hyderabad – was selected solely on the basis of partisan political considerations,

The UGC gazette notification of 5 May 2016 says that an Assistant Professor needs to have a Ph.D. degree and at least two research publications in refereed journals for being recognised as a Research Supervisor. This means that a faculty member with only an MA degree will not be able to supervise research scholars in the University. JNU places heavy emphasis on research – nearly 4500 students (about half the total number of students) in the University are enrolled in research programmes such as M.Phil. and Ph.D.

The JNUSU came down heavily on the “hypocritical attitude” of the Vice Chancellor (VC) Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar regarding UGC rules. The May 2016 notification is something that the administration has been very pro-active in implementing. The VC has been adamant about implementing clauses in the UGC notification such as those which have resulted in seat cuts in the University and which subverted reservations. But when it came to the appointment of faculty members, he has chosen to ignore the norms laid out by the UGC.

The Students Union accused the VC of having indulged in “blatant manipulation of faculty selection committees” which made it possible for him to directly interfere in faculty appointments. According to UGC guidelines, the interview board for faculty appointments must consist of three experts in the subject along with various representatives of the University or institution. The selected list of these experts has to be passed by statutory bodies of the institution such as the Academic Council.

In JNU, the names of experts used to be recommended by the respective Centres (departments), until Jagadesh Kumar interfered to appropriate to himself the authority to select experts. The VC has claimed to possess discretionary powers to unilaterally select experts. But the Union trashed the VC’s argument – “there is absolutely no legal basis for this claim of the Vice Chancellor”, said the JNUSU release.

According to the Union, all the candidates recently appointed as faculty members are backed by the Sangh Parivar. The Union fears that the manner in which appointments are being made to the nearly 300 vacancies for faculty positions in JNU would lead to a massive degradation in the quality of academics in the University.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are the author's personal views, and do not necessarily represent the views of Newsclick.

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