The Bellary Hitarakshana Horata Samiti has expressed concern over Kannada University proscribing the academic freedom of its teachers and has urged Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, who is the Chancellor of the university, to direct it to withdraw a circular issued in this regard.

In a memorandum addressed to the Chancellor, submitted through Vice-Chancellor Hi. Chi. Boralingaiah on Wednesday, samiti representatives stated that a circular issued by the university on November 26 prevented its teachers from expressing their views, which amounts to curbing their academic freedom.

“We regret to say that professors working in various departments of the university do not seem to enjoy academic freedom — freedom of speech or expression of views on controversial issues. One of the reasons for this anti-intellectual stand is that the policy-making bodies in universities do not like such freedom. This is the case with the prestigious Kannada University, which is known for its innovative ideas and research. Therefore, we request you to intervene and restore the much-needed academic freedom,” the memorandum said.

‘Centres of learning’

They also said that universities were centres of learning. “Academic activity does entail understanding the pros and cons of all activities concerning society like the one related to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, which has both positive and negative aspects. Unless intellectuals make an assessment of such controversial issues, ordinary people may not know anything about FDI. Thus, academics of the university don the mantle of public intellectuals. It is their social responsibility too,” the memorandum said.

Nominations to the policy-making bodies like the Syndicate and the Senate were made more on political considerations than academic achievements, which seems to be one of the main reasons for the present intellectual crisis, the memorandum pointed out.

Convener of the samiti T.G. Vittal and advocate K. Koteshwar Rao were present.