SAVE THE JNU ACT! RESTORE THE SANCTITY OF ACADEMIC COUNCIL DECISIONS ON ADMISSIONS, ORDINANCES AND PANEL OF EXPERTS!
The 143rd Academic Council is to take place on the 9th of May 2017. This is perhaps the most important AC meeting in the history of JNU, following an unprecedented and widely opposed slash in admissions to the university’s M.Phil./M.Tech./PhD programmes. By the JNU statutes, the AC is the only academic body empowered to take these decisions, and now that we teachers must now stand together to defeat all that is harmful to JNU’s research and academic profile. The JNUTA requests all members of the Academic Council to attend and be present throughout this meeting (both Part A and Part B). A vigorous participation is all the more necessary, given that despite the requests of many Centres, items relating to arbitrary calculation of intake and other aspects of admissions and reservations have not been included. The JNUTA wishes the 143rd AC be one of free, peaceful, and extensive discussion, and hopes that the JNU administration will create a conducive setting for the discussion by holding the AC meeting in a committee room (the SSS-I Committee room), where everyone has access to a microphone and is seated as peers.
Admission and the UGC Regulations 2016: The most important agenda for JNUTA in this meeting is for the AC to take steps to correct the mess that has made. The JNUTA will ask the AC to take unambiguous positions on the issues below, and make the case for the Academic Council to reconvene in 4 weeks, after eliciting the opinions of Schools and Centres, as well as JNUTA and JNUSU, with a revised admission policy and admission schedule for the 2017-18 admissions to JNU’s research programmes.
JNU has always maintained its own autonomy and yet successfully adopted implemented all regulations of the UGC after harmoniously interpreting them with its own Act and Ordinances. It did so in 2009, for the precursor of the 2016 Regulations, and a democratic and consultative process involving Schools and Centres is the only way in which all issues related to harmonisation can be effectively addressed.
- The UGC Regulations ask for full observance of Central/State polices on reservation. The CEI Act, which led to a 54% increase in seats forbids reduction of intake and is therefore in conflict with the UGC Regulations. Similarly, Supreme Court judgments directing relaxations in cut-off marks for written examinations are violated by JNU administration’s interpretation of the UGC guidelines.
- The decision to change the pattern and weightage of the entrance examination and viva voce, as well as its format is not necessarily the correct or only interpretation of the UGC Regulations.
- The withdrawal of deprivation points for research degree admissions is entirely unwarranted, and as has been clarified by the current UGC Chair, not entailed by the UGC Regulation at all.
Ordinances: The 142nd Academic Council never discussed or approved the articles sent as ‘Ordinances’ to the AC, and even though this gross violation was reported at the 267th meeting of the Executive Council, it is now claimed that the EC ‘approved’ them, and have recently been circulated as Ordinances, and are already being sought to be amended in this AC. JNUTA’s study of the various stages of ‘approval’ of these Ordinances’, serious infractions in terms of addition and deletions from text/clauses is evident. JNUTA shall oppose these Ordinances and demand that they be suspended, until they have been subjected to the approval of the Schools and Centres and Boards of Studies, following the usual norms of circulation and proposal of amendment.
Panel of Experts: The JNUTA will keep up its sustained opposition to the VC’s usurping of the statutory power of the Academic Council in determining the panel of experts recommended by the Centres/Schools. The subsequent approval by the Executive Council is illegal, and JNUTA shall ask that the EC be officially informed through a resolution that the AC has not yielded up its statutory powers and responsibilities.
There are several other issues in the AC agenda that need further discussion for JNUTA to represent the will of the teachers. We also must decide collectively the strategy by which we can achieve our goals in the AC meeting. We invite colleagues, and particularly members of the Academic Council to a GBM on 5thMay 2017, at 4.00 pm in the JNUTA Office.
Ayesha Kidwai Pradeep Shinde