Published: 19th August 2023
Ambedkar University Delhi's faculty raise concerns over poor infrastructure, harassment
AUDFA's demands, as listed in the memorandum, are to apply CAS in a fair manner plus reverse incorrect decisions, among other demands
The Ambedkar University Delhi Faculty Association (AUDFA) has alleged several discrepancies in the working of the Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD). Starting from the disbursement of salaries to the lack of proper infrastructure, the association brought out a charter of demands on Thursday, August 17, and urged the administration to address them at the earliest.
Primarily, the faculty members express displeasure with the "dilapidating standards", "worsening work environment", and "stagnant career growth" at AUD. Due to these factors, shared a representative of the AUDFA Media Committee, 25 faculty members had quit their jobs from 2020 to date and the career growth of other faculty members is stagnating.
The main reason behind the faculty members' stagnant career growth, claims the representative, is the university admin's misinterpretation and implementation of the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) guidelines.
"Prior to 2018, promotions and appraisals would happen as per the CAS guidelines of 2010. In 2010, however, the University Grants Commission (UGC) introduced new guidelines for CAS, and faculty were given the choice of submitting their promotion evaluation as per either set of guidelines," AUDFA's representative says.
As a result, many faculty members followed the 2010 guidelines. However, the administration did not issue promotions for these faculty members for two years, before issuing a notice that only the 2018 guidelines would be followed for CAS, the representative alleges.
The representative also points out other glaring floutings of the CAS guidelines. For example, the representative alleges that the Dean of the AUD is not a part of the CAS committee, which violates UGC guidelines. In addition, the representative also alleges that department-specific CAS committees in the university do not have external experts from the subject area of the department.
However, one of the most noteworthy allegations the AUDFA makes towards the university's administration is the alleged harassment of its teaching staff members and favouritism towards select faculty members. "Faculty who are in the good books of the vice-chancellor are given more powers and are even made to manage several departments. They also receive their employment benefits on time," claims the representative.
The faculty members face the most harassment in seeking approvals and permissions, continues the representative. "We are denied NOCs (No Objection Certificates) and permission to participate in academic and research activities, visas and even external grants to conduct research," the representative alleges and adds, "The teaching faculty have no say in the administrative matters of the university, despite having several administrative duties. This concentration of power is bad in any educational institution, especially for those employed in it."
The centralisation of power, has led to increased red tape in the university's functioning. This is evident, especially in the external grants received by the university, which have dipped to Rs 1 crore a year from Rs 5-7 crores, claims the charter. In addition, this red tape has also taken a toll on the university's infrastructure, which is being termed as "dilapidated, unsanitary, and unsafe" by the AUDFA.
A memorandum and charter of demands put out by AUDFA on August 17, states that AUD has slipped in rankings. "A grade (CGPA 3.02) by NAAC in 2014 to a B++ (CGPA 2.80) in 2022. From being listed in the top 100 universities by NIRF (2016), AUD is now among the top 200 universities in the country as per the latest rankings," it states.
However, these problems are not new ones — and the AUDFA staged a protest last year as well, demanding the university to rectify them. "However, we were only given verbal assurances from the university, and nothing was put into action. In a way, we were duped into ceasing our protest," claims the representative. However, the representative adds that the association would be more emphatic in communicating their demands to the admin this time.
Demands of AUDFA
AUDFA's demands, as listed in the memorandum, are to apply CAS in a fair manner plus reverse incorrect decisions; invest in repairing existing infrastructure; support faculty members and reinstatement of consultative process with faculty.
"We have given the administration time until August 24 to meet our demands. In case the administration does not accept them, we would hold a General Body Meeting on August 25, to decide the next course of action," says the representative.