At the Academic Council meeting of Madurai Kamaraj University

: The Academic Council meeting of Madurai Kamaraj University, which took place here on Thursday, witnessed heated exchanges on holding student union elections in the university and its affiliated colleges.

This matter was raised during a discussion on an adjournment motion moved by M. Murali of Arul Anandar College. He said students must have representation in the varsity’s three important decision-making bodies — Academic Council, Senate and Syndicate.

Prior to the debate, Academic Council member S. Vivekanandan insisted that he would speak on students’ union elections.

Though Vice-Chancellor Kalyani Mathivanan did not permit him to speak, he said that he could not be denied a chance to talk since the Lyngdoh Committee, which was formed by the Central Government, had given its recommendations on the matter.

"Student elections are a must and the issue was dealt with by the Supreme Court. When Manonmaniam Sundaranar University is conducting elections in its affiliated colleges and on its campus, why not our university," he asked.

Mr. Vivekanandan observed that the students of MKU and its affiliated colleges had no democratic forum to express their views.

The Vice-Chancellor wanted to know why no other member in the Academic Council had come forward to support his demand for conducting union elections.

Syndicate member R. Kannan said the inclusion of student representatives in the Academic Council and holding union elections are two different issues.

The Vice-Chancellor put an end to the discussion by saying that the directions to university would have to come from the State Government and not from a member of the Academic Council.

Another issue raised in the Academic Council was with regard to the "paltry salary" being given to teachers of self-financing colleges and the faculty who are handling self-financing courses in aided colleges.

N. Thenpandian, member, moved an adjournment motion stating that the MKU should ensure a '"decent" salary for teachers.