R. Thandavan, the 43 vice-chancellor of the University of Madras took charge of his portfolio on Friday.
Hordes of well-wishers and admirers, mostly staff members of the university, thronged the V-C’s office to congratulate him. “I know about every nook and corner of the university, except the V-C’s office,” said Prof. Thandavan, when he took charge.
On his goals for the university, Prof. Thandavan said he would ensure a “transparent, corruption-free administration.” “Of late there have been reports that vacancies are being created by taking money from people, who come here to make more money. I will take steps to ensure that with monitoring, no such thing occurs.”
Finances, a concern
He added, “I am worried about the financial situation of the university, as a lot of expenditure has been incurred in the last few years. Once I peruse the reports, I will be able to take a final decision on that.”
The former professor was informed a week ago about his selection for the post of V-C, but was waiting to meet the Chief Minister before he assumed charge, sources said.
The 62-year-old was the founding faculty member of the Anna Centre of Public Affairs at the university, where he served as the head.
“He has been elected to the syndicate thrice, and has also been part of the senate. He knows ninety per cent of the people here by their name so he has support from both the teaching and non-teaching staff,” a professor said. However, professors also added that he has the responsibility of bringing together the several factions of the university.
Prof. Thandavan also said he would look into the issue of affiliated colleges charging more than the stipulated amount of fees from students in government-aided colleges. “The attempt is to make sure we create a student-friendly environment at the university and its affiliated colleges,” he said.
He also said he was in talks with government officials to chart out a plan to regulate student indiscipline in buses.
On the controversial issue of exam malpractices at the university, Prof. Thandavan said he was yet to receive the report from K. Aludiapillai, a retired IAS officer who was looking into the matter.
Long task list
Senior professors say the V-C has his work cut out for him. While the foremost remains the filling-up of various vacancies in every department of the university, he also needs to hasten the process of getting a permanent registrar for the university. Many departments such as Indian history face up to a 60 per cent shortage of faculty members.
The V-C said appointing the registrar and filling up vacancies was at the top of his task list. “But it will be done by issuing advertisements without any interference from anybody,” he said.
Prof. Thandavan also said there were several new courses in the offing, particularly in the area of humanities and pure sciences. “I know almost everyone in this university. I have been here for many years, and I am aware of the university’s strengths and weaknesses. I will try to convince everybody to work together,” he added.