TISS alumni write open letter against unjust termination

After the terminated of over a 100 of teaching and non-teaching staff from TISS, the alumni have written an open letter calling out the institute's actions, especially its unjust treatment to the faculty at the Centre for Women’s Studies.

Over 164 former students of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) Mumbai have written an open letter after over 100 teaching and non-teaching staff were given abrupt termination notices on June 28. In this move the institute’s Advanced Centre for Women’s Studies has faced the brunt of the decision as important faculty members, including the chairperson, were among those whose jobs terminated. The employees were dismissed without any notice.

As per a report by Indian Express, around 20 employees who had been let go were from the Mumbai branch, there were 15 from Hyderabad, and about 14 from Guwahati and 6 from Tuljapur. The rest of them were teaching staff were permanent faculty members employed by the UGC.

However, after intense backlash and criticism, the TISS management reportedly revoked the termination letters just a few days later, and reinstated those employees who were affected across its four campuses. However, this move was called unfair by several and was limited only to staff supported by the Tata Education Trust, leaving scores of others in uncertainty. Among those whose jobs are still terminated are notably those hired under the 12th Plan of the UGC? This group of people includes several faculty members who are the Advanced Centre for Women’s Studies. Their employment status remains uncertain as of now. Observers have drawn attention to how women’s studies programmes have faced targeted persecution over the years.

The letter by the alumni further asserts how the women’s studies departments have been pivotal to the feminist movement, and how “Women’s Studies departments have been rooted in the political recognition of the marginalisation of women through the UN International Decade for Women (1975-1985).”

The demands put forth in the letter include immediate reinstatement and “regularisation of contractual faculty and non-teaching staff under the UGC 12th Plan”, and with this it also alleges salaries are pending, as it demands the release of pending salaries. There’s also a demand for a structured timeline to regularise TET and UGC contractual employees that can ensure some financial stability in terms of the salaries. The letter also asks UGC for more transparency regarding vacant permanent UGC positions. Additionally, faculty members are also demanding inclusion in the decision-making processes with regards to recruitment, admissions, and institutional operations.

As per reports, the institute has cited a lack of funds and a non-receipt of grants from the TET for these terminations. Meanwhile, the Progressive Students Forum (PSF) have called out the ruling government led by BJP for the terminations and is going to lead to a scarcity of teaching and non-teaching staff, in a scenario where the student-teacher ratio is already skewed.

The Letter may be read here:



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