The JNUTA GBM on 01.04.2022 was the first held in this year. It put on record its appreciation for the work done by the outgoing team of TA executive council, particularly through the difficult Covid phase. The JNUTA executive members of 2022-23 were also introduced to the General Body members present in the meeting. The meeting was attended by 98 faculty members.
The meeting deliberated on the following agenda items:
1. Taking stock of teachers’ rights
- Retirement benefit
2. Reclaiming a gender sensitive campus
- GSCASH and ICC
- Reopening of the creche / day care centre
3. Draft University Grants Commission (Minimum Standards and Procedures for Award of Ph.D. Degree) Regulations, 2022
4. Academic Calendar
5. JNUTA Membership Fee and related matters.
6. Under any other matter with the permission of the chair, three major issues were raised: CUET mode of examination, reservation for teaching positions and security arrangement on campus.
The discussion in the GBM on many of the above issues brought to light a significant institutional degradation marked with an extraordinary inefficiency of the JNU administration during the tenure of the last Vice Chancellor. This has resulted in grave injustice for many serving and retired teachers with multiple dimensions of denials of their rights. The GBM adopted the following resolutions:
- Taking stock of teachers’ rights
- Promotion: The issue of promotions is about respect for our labour. According to JNU’s own records, based on years of service in JNU, currently 4 out of 5 Assoc and 3 out of 4 Asst Prof (and in total 276 faculty) in JNU are eligible for at least one stage of CAS promotion. The processes of deprivation in promotion have been multiple: past service not counted; papers not processed; papers processed but interviews not held; outright rejections without any academic rationale; some have not even applied as a result of lack of transparency in the past. The JNUTA will raise the issue of rejection of past cases and make all efforts to ensure that such unfair practices of the past are undone. The General Body of the JNUTA hopes that, with a change of guard, the issue of promotions will be taken up in right earnest. It resolves to hold a meeting this month with all the faculty members due for promotions to help them with the issues of logistics (API, past service, appropriate CAS rules and its requirements etc.) in applying for promotions.
- Retirement Benefits: The General Body of JNUTA stands in solidarity with retired colleagues in their struggle to obtain pensionary benefits after decades of dedicated service to the university. The illegality of blocking their due benefits has been highlighted by several recent orders from the Hon. Delhi High Court. The GBM urges JNU’s new administration to make a fresh, positive departure by shedding the hostile attitude to retired teachers shown by the previous administration and ensure that all pensionary benefits are disbursed with fairness, efficiency and transparency. Urgent, intensive efforts need to be made by the administration to eliminate delays, implement the long overdue re-fixation of pension notified by the UGC in 2020, and to make health benefits available without difficulty. The GBM resolves to set up a permanent contact within the TA EC to liaise with retired colleagues and support them in resolving problems faced by them, including those related to pension and other retirement benefits, leave encashment, and health benefits.
- Reclaiming a gender sensitive campus
- GSCASH and ICC: GSCASH was wound up in September 2017, citing adoption of the UGC Regulations and the Saksham guidelines, even though the GSCASH was in fact fully in accordance with these guidelines, as it was a body that had gender sensitisation as one of its functions along with the power to conduct inquiries into complaints of sexual harassment. In 2018, the JNU administration went to the Supreme Court with the undertaking that the newly formed ICC would complete the 40-odd inquiries pending before the GSCASH. However, to the best of the university community’s knowledge, not one of those inquiries has been completed. Based on media reports on outcomes of even the complaints made to the ICC, we find that there is an overwhelming tenor of reprimanding or policing the complainants. The ICC in its implementation has also failed in its legal obligations under the SH Act 2013 of producing an annual report for three years now. In view of these facts, the university community, especially women faculty, staff, and students have no faith that the ICC is in any way an institution that is committed to the redressal of grievances of sexual harassment. The General Body of JNUTA demands the restoration of the erstwhile GSCASH with all of its powers and representative character intact.
- Reopening of the creche / day care centre: The JNUTA General Body resolves to pursue the matter of resumption of crèche /day care facility which used to operate from the JNU Faculty Activity Centre. Ensuring access to day care facility is a legal obligation of an employer in Delhi employing more than 20 women. In case of a university, this facility must be provided for not only the wards of teachers and non-teaching staff but also research scholars. The General Body urges JNU administration to take full responsibility of the functioning of the day care facility in well-maintained and safe space with experienced and trained staff, in fulfilment of its legal obligation. This will go a long way in providing for a gender-just and stress-free work environment for faculty colleagues and other stake holders with young children. The General Body urges the Vice Chancellor to reconstitute a committee to oversee functioning of the crèche with representation from JNUTA as well as from other stakeholders like JNUOA, JNUSA and JNUSU.
- UGC Draft Notification: The Draft UGC Regulations (2022) on the Minimum Standards and Award of PhD degree is likely to have far-reaching consequences for the quality of PhD degrees granted by different Universities, filling up of reserved seats as mandated by the Constitution, total number of PhD seats available in different universities. After deliberations in the GBM, the TA resolves to send its recommendations to the UGC with regard to the Draft Regulations.
- Academic Calendar: Covid-19 and the delayed admission process by National Testing Agency have caused differential staggering of academic sessions of JNU and deprived its teaching faculty of summer and winter vacations since 2020. The General Body of the JNUTA urges the JNU Administration to credit 30 ELs to the faculty members of the University. It also proposes that the New Academic Calendar 2022-23 should provide 1 month summer and 15 days winter vacations for the current academic year (i.e., 2022), which will ensure two three-and-half-month semesters in this year. The semesters should be synchronized with the usual academic calendar latest by January 2023.
- Teachers Association Membership Fees: The general body of JNUTA resolved to increase the yearly subscription from Rs. 1200 to 1500/- per annum. It also decided to request the members to make an arrangement with SBI JNU keeping the treasurer JNUTA in loop, such that an automatic deduction of the amount is done every year from the respective member’s account.
- Any other matter
- Central University Entrance Test: The JNUTA GBM notes that the CUET which goes into effect from 2.4.22 offers very little in the way of innovation and inclusion, which the NEP claims to have adopted as its principles. It is a computer-based examination comprising multiple choice questions and the syllabus is limited to the NCERT books, hence only students passing out of the CBSE system have been taken into consideration. For now, this would have grave implications for the undergraduate programme in SLL&CS in JNU. The examination is designed in a manner that it will reduce the intake in the short term and destroy the BA programme in the foreign languages in JNU in the long term. The Notification lists 20 languages in Section 1B, including Foreign Languages for which a candidate can appear entirely overlooking the fact that students start learning foreign languages from scratch at universities and are therefore in no position to write a language test in these languages. Further, to cater to students who have not taken up the desired foreign language in school, there should be something akin to Language and Culture Studies in the domain subjects, that the applicants from foreign languages can opt for. The CUET would have significant consequences for Masters applicants as well, as and when they come under its ambit. Some of the generic provisions that may cause problems include 1. Conduct of the examination in 13 languages, because of which evaluation parity would be hard to ensure. 2. Limited number of subjects included in the list of domain-specific subjects would make it difficult for the applicants to opt for the exact subject that they wish to apply for. 3. The usual problems that exists with MCQs to evaluate applicants for languages and social sciences in particular remain in this system.
- Reservation for Teaching Posts: The JNUTA GBM takes note of the fact that the illegalities in the application of reservation for teaching posts have remained incompletely addressed. Pursuant to the Orders issued by the Delhi High Court in LPA 15/2021 (in the matter of Dr. Pradeep Shinde v. JNU) dated 11.01.2021, JNU administration had published new Reservation Roster Registers for the posts of Professor and Associate Professor. These new rosters were a tacit admission by the JNU Administration at that time that their earlier illegal recasting of the roster in violation of the backlog rule had resulted in a significant reduction in reserved posts. However, the illegality was never explicitly admitted nor was any action taken against those responsible. Moreover, the process of ‘correction’ as it stands uploaded on the JNU website is marked by further violations of the backlog rule, in the form of changes in the reservation status of backlog vacancies. The legitimate concerns raised by the petitioners about these anomalies have remained unaddressed so far. The JNUTA GBM hopes that this matter will be taken up and resolved on an urgent basis.
- Security Arrangement on JNU Campus The JNUTA General Body feels extremely concerned about the deteriorating security condition of the campus. It has come to our notice that the security committee that the JNU administration has put in place is mandated to facilitate the hiring of an alternative security agency. While the GBM appreciated the promptness of this required action, it feels that the committee’s only objectives should not be to terminate the extended contract of Cyclops Security and Allied Services Pvt. Ltd. and hire the services of a new company. The GBM is of the view that the AWPO and the Cyclops Security and Allied Services Pvt. Ltd. should be made accountable for their gross failure to carry out their duties as specified in the contract. The GBM demands that compensation be paid to all the victims of theft, criminal trespass and criminal intimidation as per the specifications outlined in their respective complaints, before the security arrangements are changed. The General Body of JNUTA urges the current administration to adopt a transparent process of recruitment of an accountable security service provider. In particular, it should include in its advertisement the need for a professional and well-trained security force which is sensitive and cognisant of the needs of students, staff and faculty on a residential university campus. The subsequent terms and conditions of the contract, including indemnity conditions should be accountable to all residents and members of the University. The contract should have a zero-toleration policy on sexual harassment or any form of violence that is perpetrated or supported by the security agency. A grievance redressal mechanism should be put in place with respect to the security services of the campus, in which representation from all sections of campus community is ensured. The GBM hopes that the letter written by the JNUTA to the JNU registrar on 28.03.2022 would be taken note of and acted upon.