In the recent weeks, the JNU administration has released several press statements blaming the JNUTA for the situation on campus [starting with Press Release dated 18 March 2018 to Press Release dated 28 March 2018]. JNUTA strongly contests this false representation by the Registrar. These press releases clearly indicate that the administration does not even acknowledge that there are serious concerns of the major stakeholders (which have been communicated through various letters addressed to the Vice Chancellor by JNUTA office bearers) of the university which need to be discussed. On the contrary, it has continuously been coming up with either press statements or tweets. The record needs to be set straight that in fact the unprecedented state of unrest and turmoil on the campus is a result of the forced implementation of arbitrarily taken decisions.
In the last two years, the campus has seen violations of social justice, gender justice and natural justice on the one hand and continuous farmaans being imposed by the “top administration”. The Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act 2006 is being violated for the second consecutive year now. The manner in which GSCASH was replaced by the ICC, and the arbitrary appointment of officers and chairpersons and dismissal of rightfully appointed dean and chairpersons, are among a long list of violations. The relentless and legitimate call for justice on the campus has been met with the deafening silence of an administration that appears to be in complete denial of the ground reality on the campus.
For weeks, teachers and students of the university in large numbers (which the JNU administration repeatedly and falsely describes as “a handful”) have been protesting through various peaceful modes, including a three-day hunger strike by the teachers of the university. The administrative head – the Vice Chancellor – of the university has remained completely impervious to the developments on campus and the widespread distress that has been made evident through peaceful protest seems to be of no concern to him. Instead there have been threatening circulars issued by the administration on an almost daily basis.
The administration’s lack of concern has aggravated the situation on campus and has also compelled the seeking of remedies from responsible bodies outside the university.
JNUTA represents the teachers of this university and is fully committed to the smooth functioning of the university. However, it takes seriously its responsibility to ensure that the processes of the university are not distorted to an extent that academic reasoning is sacrificed to administrative authoritarianism driven by extra-academic interests.
JNUTA notes that there is a deliberate attempt by the JNU administration to divide the teachers. We have seen one such attempt earlier when a group within the administration came up with a signature campaign on the attendance issue. More recently, Rector II has sent a call [dated 26 March 2018] to “… faculty members who would like to put forth their views …”. This appears to be a deliberate attempt at sidelining of the duly elected body representing the teachers of this university (an election in which the turnout of teachers was over 92%). This is consistent with the reluctance of the administration to engage in dialogue with JNUTA over the critical situation prevailing on campus.
The JNUTA once again appeals to the administration to shed its reluctance to allow the return to a normal teaching-learning environment that is the lifeblood of a university. This can happen by reinstating an open process of dialogue with the key stakeholders of this university and a genuine effort to address the prevailing concerns. Refusal to recognize these concerns as real is what has resulted in this unfortunate situation.
Sonajharia Minz, President
Sudhir Kumar Suthar, Secretary