More attacks on JNU: Seven Chairpersons, Deans removed over mandatory attendance

In a shocking order, the JNU VC removed at least seven Deans/Chairpersons in a seemingly arbitrary manner for “not complying with or refusing to implement the mandatory attendance system” in their respective Schools/Centres. Earlier, the university was planning to set up an enquiry committee to look into the cases which did not fulfil the newly introduced mandatory attendance criteria. The new rule had met with fierce opposition from both students and faculty previously.

The order for expulsion has been issued to the chairpersons of the Centre for French and Francophone Studies; Centre for Linguistics; Centre for Historical Studies; Centre for Economic studies & Planning; Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Thought; and the Centre for English Studies. Similar order was also issued to the Dean of the School of Arts & Aesthetics, Kavita Singh on Wednesday. The order which was signed by the Section Officer (Academic), A D Bahuguna said, “The Executive Council in its 272nd meeting held on March 13 confirmed the decision taken in the 271st (emergency) meeting of the EC on resolution number 08 of the 144th (A) meeting of the Academic Council, held on Dec 1, 2017 regarding compulsory attendance in all regular courses, and authorised the Vice-Chancellor to replace the existing Deans of Schools/Chairpersons of Centres who have not complied with, or refused to, implement the attendance system in the university, with the Acting Deans/Chairpersons.”

The order also stated that the Vice-Chancellor has appointed Professor Mazhar Asif, Centre for Persian & Central Asian Studies as the Acting Dean of the School of Arts & Aesthetics, with immediate effect.
Mr. Bahuguna, when contacted by media, said that he was not authorised to speak on the matter.

Kavita Singh, the Dean of School of Arts and Aesthetics said, “They have replaced me with someone who is outside our School, who must be pliant. This can only be done when no teacher from the School is available to take that position. This is just part of a long list of things the administration is doing, as people who don’t understand education and educational institutions.”

The news of replacement was confirmed by the Chairperson of Centre for English Studies, Udaya Kumar who said that he had been replaced by Dhananjay Singh. Dhananjay Singh’s promotion was questioned by Kumar during faculty appointments in 2017.  It was also observed that Mr. Singh was the presidential candidate for the JNUSU elections in 2004 from ABVP.

This order has come in the background that as many as 98 percent students in JNU had voted against mandatory attendance in a referendum conducted by the JNUSU in the first week of March.
The removal of faculties at such senior positions without any dialogue or information seems clearly politically motivated where the qualification, experience or seniority of the faculty has not been considered. Instead some political appointments are taking place.



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