Published: 06th March 2020
Madras University students worried JNU VC being on search committee panel might threaten students' rights
Students of Madras University were also one among the many student communities across the country that protested and took out marches in solidarity with JNU
Madras University's search committee panels have not been devoid of controversy in the past and now with the decision to include the Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Dr Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar in the committee, the committee is marred in controversy again. Many of the faculty members and students are not happy with the decision to include the controversial academician on the panel.
Students of Madras University were also one among the many student communities across the country that protested and took out solidarity marches in solidarity with JNU during their fee hike protests. When the attack on students took place on January 5 too, Madras University students conducted a demonstration and demanded justice on behalf of their counterparts. The JNU Students' Union students and the JNU Teachers' Association, both have called for Mamidala to resign from his post. The JNUTA has also written to the MHRD to take action against the VC for his alleged role in the attack against the students and his failure to address the attack and organise an enquiry into it.
This issues with the VC are not recent though, all the Students Union preceding the current one during Mamidala's term have accused him of constituting 'anti-student' policies - from fee hikes to hostel rules to changes in the reservation policy. The Union has also accused the VC with trying to privatise facilities on campus as well. The Union was also not allowed into the Academic Council meetings even though the student representatives are supposed to be present there and be a participant in the decision making. The Union has also filed various cases in court against the administration. So now that Mamidala is present on the search committee, students in MU are not too happy.
The search committee panel consisting of three members is supposed to choose the new VC for the University, now that the current VC Prof P Duraisamy has finished his term. Having witnessed what has been happening in JNU, students feel that their campuses could also be robbed of student rights. "This is just the Centre's way method to put one of their own people's on the panel. This way they will find a person who supports the BJP to be part of the decision-making body here in MU. They did the same in Anna University too. By bringing BJP supporters here, they will make it impossible for regular people to come and study here, they will change admission rules," a student complained. He also feels that their campus will get less democratic than it already, "Already we don't have a student union or council. We have been protesting against it for so long. Mamidala has wiped out democracy from JNU and so having him on the panel will only weaken the democracy here and take away student rights," claims the student.
"There are enough people from here who they could have added on the panel. Why do we need someone from outside to come here?" he asks. Another student says this decision has got him scared, "The attackers in the JNU incident in January had enough support to unleash that sort of horror on campus. So it only makes me scared