Reviving the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union elections is a priority for newly appointed Vice-Chancellor Prof. Sudhir Kumar Sopory who took over charge from outgoing V-C Prof. B.B. Bhattacharya here on Friday.
Prof. Sopory, who joined the JNU School of Life Sciences faculty in 1973 and remained in the university till 1997, said: “Our website still describes the JNUSU elections as a proud tradition. If there is anything we can do to revive the process, we will do it.”
Good politicians should emerge from JNU, he added.
An “eminent plant molecular biologist”, Prof. Sopory worked at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology which is part of the United Nations System prior to becoming V-C. Prof. Sopory said he had been offered appointments at other institutes as well but chose to take up the JNU appointment. He added that his choice had invited scepticism from those who knew him on the grounds that JNU is “full of politics”. “I know JNU better than anyone,” said the V-C who was also the JNU Teachers' Association vice-president at one point and Kaveri hostel warden.
Speaking about the changes and improvements he intended to bring about in the university, Prof. Sopory said there is a need to make the administration more transparent and efficient as well as improve the quality of teaching. “The quantity and quality of research must also improve,” he added. Efforts would be made to provide students with Wifi facility.
Asked about the student agitation regarding the improper implementation of reservations for Other Backward Classes students, Prof. Sopory said: “JNU is an inclusive university and we are thinking of ways and means by which we can properly implement the OBC reservations.” He voiced disapproval of the decision to go to court with regard to the implementation of reservations.
In the context of pending teaching appointments, the V-C said the University Grants Commission had given guidelines and a committee would be formed to look into the matter for which three months time would be needed.