Published: 18th September 2018
CUK plays hardball, students disappointed with conciliatory meeting
As a face-saver, Vice-Chancellor G Gopa Kumar agreed to take up Karunakaran's request to reinstate Akhil Thazhath, a PG student dismissed from the university for a Facebook post
The authorities of the Central University of Kerala stuck to their stance on various issues confronting students and teachers in a conciliatory meeting attended by MP P Karunakaran, MLA K Kunhiraman, and student representatives.
As a face-saver, Vice-Chancellor G Gopa Kumar agreed to take up Karunakaran's request to reinstate Akhil Thazhath, a PG student dismissed from the university for a Facebook post, with the executive council — the highest decision-making body of the university. The VC left the decision to take back the student to the executive council.
On the criminal case against Dalit scholar Ganhoti Nagaraju, the VC said the state government may withdraw the case against him, and the university would not oppose it in court.
Disciplinary action against teachers
The VC said associate professor Prasad Pannian and assistant professor Gilbert Sebastian have been served with a show-cause memo for their Facebook posts that violated the conduct rules, and they sought 10 days' time to reply.
The VC said the inquiry would be conducted at the earliest after getting the explanation and the outcome of the inquiry report will be communicated to Dr Pannian.
Disappointed, say students
Many students said that they were disappointed with the outcome of the meeting. "At the least, we expected the university to give an assurance that it would take back Akhil (Thazhath)," said a student, who attended the meeting. "But even the people's representatives could not win an assurance on that front. We don't even know when the next executive council meeting would be," he said.
However, SFI leader and student Siddharth Ravindran said Thazhath would be taken back if he apologised. "The next executive council will take a positive decision. The VC has assured the MP in the meeting," he said.
In the meeting, when the VC refused to reconsider the expulsion, Karunakaran reportedly said that the meeting would be a futile exercise if the university refused to concede anything. He also threatened not to attend any more meetings, if the university refused to budge from its stubborn position.
The VC also agreed to the MP's request to hold meetings with students once in two months to address their issues.
On Nagaraju, sources close to the government said the complaint would be withdrawn. "With that, Nagaraju will not face any academic hurdles," he said.
Environment of fear
Udma MLA K Kunhiraman reportedly said the disciplinary action against the faculty members and students created an environment of fear on the campus. He wondered who would come here to teach if such a situation prevailed.
According to students who attended the meeting, the Dean of Students Welfare A Manickevelu said the university should introduce dress code or uniform, especially in the library. The dean reportedly said that the students wore an inappropriate dress. Both the MLA and MP roundly told him off and said no one should dictate terms on what one should wear.
The meeting was attended also by PVC K Jayaprasad, registrar A Radhakrishnan Nair, Dy Collector Ramendran, Bekal CI Viswambharan, and eight student representatives.
Kasargod MLA N A Nellikkunnu expressed his displeasure over not being invited to the meeting.