Rumours of autonomy for Lady Shri Ram College, which had spread like wildfire a few months ago, have resurfaced with the staff association fearing that autonomy is not just a rumour but a certainty. The latest initiation for the long-standing apprehension is the recently-removed UGC member, Yogendra Yadav’s communication to the UGC in which, the teachers said, he has indicated that autonomy for several Delhi University colleges were discussed in a July 31 meeting but, that it was not put on record.
“In the present context, when massive changes in Delhi University have been pushed through without consultation with teachers and all dissent wilfully crushed, we fear that our opinion and opposition will be totally disregarded by the UGC. With our voice not being heard at any quarter, we feel constrained to release a copy of our representation to the UGC Chairperson in the public domain,” said a statement from the staff association while publishing a letter sent to the UGC to be read aloud on July 31.
The communication from Prof. Yadav has only made matters more urgent, said the teachers fearing that LSR’s standards could go down drastically if it is removed from DU and that almost its entire faculty joined LSR because it was linked to DU. Autonomy would also mean unregulated fees and LSR would also be out of bounds for the economically disadvantaged.
“We express our deep reservations, in fact downright opposition to the idea of LSR becoming autonomous, academic or any other way, from Delhi University,” said the letter with about 54 signatories, which they said was not read out loud in the UGC meeting like they wished. The teachers went on to state that they are “not prepared either as teachers or institutionally for the switch-over to autonomy”.
“It is ironical when the university holds up FYUP as a breaking innovation; three premier colleges of DU are being told that it would be better for them to opt out of the system.”
Some of the teachers, speaking independently of the staff association, said they were apprehensive about the rumour when they initially read reports about the UGC’s autonomy plans for several DU colleges in the newspapers. A rumour of LSR’s autonomy is not a new one, said teachers in the know. Talk about autonomy for St. Stephen’s College, Shri Ram College of Commerce and LSR had been doing the rounds for years now. They said that the process of autonomy for Delhi Technological University, formerly under DU, also started with a rumour. “It was the same thing with DTU, we started to read things in the newspapers, some talk followed and then one day it was autonomous.”
Meanwhile, the LSR teachers said their principal Prof. Meenakshi Gopinath on Tuesday reassured them, not for the first time, that the college has not applied for autonomy. However, this does not seem to have convinced the teaching fraternity in he college.