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“A VC's powers are limited”

Special Correspondent
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Madurai Kamaraj varsity VC admits

R.Karpaga Kumaravel. — FILE PHOTO
R.Karpaga Kumaravel. — FILE PHOTO

: With just two weeks left for his three-year tenure to end, the Vice-Chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University R. Karpaga Kumaravel has openly admitted that a Vice-Chancellor has to satisfy more than one source of power and more than one master.

In his own inimitable style sliced with relevant quotes, he expressed how difficult it is to be a Vice-Chancellor serving two masters at the MKU Senate meeting held here on March 28.

“It has been said that no man can serve two masters. The Vice-Chancellor has to satisfy more than one source of power…While the responsibilities are varied and numerous, the powers of VC are extremely limited,” Dr. Karpaga Kumaravel, whose term will end on April 19, said in his introductory speech delivered at the Senate meeting.

He quoted the words of Herman B. Wells, former President of Indiana University, who said: “A Vice-Chancellor should be born with the physical strength of a Greek athlete; the cunning of a Machiavelli, the wisdom of a Solomon and the courage of a lion.”

“There is no job in the country comparable to that of a Vice-Chancellor, whose tenure is so short, whose powers are so limited, whose security is so fragile, whose responsibilities are so diverse and from whom so much is expected, so much is demanded by so many with so little sympathy for his limitations,” the Vice-Chancellor said in his last Senate speech of this term. Dr. Karpaga Kumaravel took time to speak on how he functioned. “I never had any coterie with me, I took all decisions through collective wisdom and participatory management in a transparent and democratic way. I have maintained neutrality and objectivity.”

He recalled the words of former Vice-Chancellor of MKU and Anna University, V. C. Kulandaiswamy, who observed that “he found the emergence of a culture in which condemnation by itself is paraded as contribution.”

“As I look back at the events of three years as VC of MKU, I could say that I derived goodwill and support from all quarters. I may say that a Vice-Chancellor should be judged not by what he did or did not do, but by what he has left behind as his contribution- manpower, facilities, leadership…”

In his introductory note to the Senate members, Dr. Karpaga Kumaravel mentioned about the grants received by the university from various agencies, infrastructure development initiatives and the augmentation of research activities.

“I took over as VC in a crucial time (three years ago). I have inherited a plethora of problems. The long pending legal issues have virtually paralysed the faculty recruitment for about two decades. It is heartening that all the appointments made during my tenure have been made without any dissent from any Syndicate member,” he observed.

Stating that he will always cherish the memories of his stint at the MKU as most rewarding, the Vice-Chancellor said that the tenure gave him lot of insights into not only higher education administration, but also into the complexities of human behaviour.

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