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TN: Teachers, Students Tell Governor Ravi to not Poke Into State-University Affairs

It comes after the Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi arbitrarily formed the search-cum-selection committee for the appointment of Vice Chancellors for three state-run universities in Tamil Nadu
R N Ravi

R N Ravi. Image Courtesy: Wikimedia

Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi arbitrarily formed the search-cum-selection committee for the appointment of Vice Chancellors for three state-run universities in Tamil Nadu. He announced the committee for selecting university VCs for Bharathiar University, the University of Madras, and the Tamil Nadu Teachers Education University without consulting the Tamil Nadu government.

However, the practice is that once the search committee is constituted, its notification will be released by the state with the approval of the Governor. But this time, the spontaneous announcement from the Raj Bhawan has become a big talking point in the higher education sector.

The Tamil Nadu government has opposed the Governor's action of constituting the committees.

In a statement, Higher Education Minister K Ponmudy said, "Under rules governing the state universities, there was no provision for the Governor to constitute such search committees. No Governor has unilaterally announced a search committee; there are no provisions in the rules."


Although the Governor, in his unilateral notification, has included a nominee of the University Grants Commission's Chairman as a fourth member in the committees, the 2018 UGC regulations, which demand such an inclusion, have not yet been adopted by the Tamil Nadu government.

Makkal Kalvi Kootiyakkam (Joint Movement for Education), a Madurai-based organisation fighting for issues in higher education, asked in a statement, "If the Governor was keen on adhering to UGC regulations, why has he not said anything about the minimum salary of Rs 57,500 to be paid to guest lecturers in colleges as per UGC norms?"

Several teachers' organisations have alleged that the Governor's action of forming committees and adding UGC members violated existing laws and urged Governor Ravi to withdraw the announcement.

In a statement, former Anna University VC E Balagurusamy said, "Raj Bhavan should honour the provisions laid down in the Act of Universities and the conventions followed in the announcement of search committees. The governor, as the chancellor, has no special power and authority to constitute his search committees and announce them to the press. A search committee will become operational only after the state issues a GO constituting it.".

Alleging that higher education has of late become a playground for political ideologies, the Joint Action Council of College Teachers, in its statement, demanded the withdrawal of the Governor's notification.

Academics are worried that the Governor's act and the ensuing tiff will delay the appointment of VCs in the state.


Students Federation of India (SFI) held protest demonstrations in universities across Tamil Nadu on Friday condemning Governor Ravi's move. They demanded he withdraw his announcement.

SFI demanded the resignation of Governor Ravi for acting against the interest of the people of Tamil Nadu, against the Tamil Nadu government and the federal structure, and towards centralising education. The federation also condemned his efforts to saffronise educational institutions.

Protests were held at Madurai Kamaraj University, Thiruvalluvar University in Vellore, Tamil University in Tanjore and Bharathidasan University in Trichy.


Rajeev Kunwar, an activist of the Democratic Teachers Federation (DTF), said, "Today, be it JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) or DU (Delhi University) or central universities located in all the states of the country – RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) people were first appointed to the posts of VC, and then teachers were recruited from within the RSS machinery. 100% saffronisation politics through recruitment is a common practice in the campuses today."

"Even in the states where there is no BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) government, the BJP-RSS is continuously interfering in the appointment of VCs through the governor and in the recruitment of teachers," he said.

He added, "Keep in mind that education was earlier a state subject in the constitution. During the Emergency, it was changed and included in the concurrent list. The Modi-led RSS-BJP government through NEP-2020 has now reduced the powers of the states to a bare minimum."

About 13 universities are functioning under the Higher Education department in Tamil Nadu.

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