Ciza Thomas, who has been given charge of Vice Chancellor of A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technological University (KTU), assumed charge on Friday amid protests by Left students’ and employees’ organisations.
Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, also the Chancellor of the university, had issued a notification on Thursday that pending the appointment of a regular Vice Chancellor, Dr. Thomas, senior joint director in the Directorate of Technical Education, would perform the additional duty of Vice Chancellor with immediate effect. When Dr. Thomas reached the KTU headquarters to assume charge on Friday morning, Student Federation of India (SFI) activists; representatives of the pro-Left Kerala Gazetted Officers’ Association; members of KTU employees’ union; and the Confederation of University Employees’ Organisations blocked her and shouted slogans. She had to be escorted to the Vice Chancellor’s office by the police.
No senior officials of the university, including the Registrar, were present. Since the official register, a formality to assume charge, was missing, she penned the joining report on white paper. Dr. Thomas told mediapersons that the protests were expected as there had been warnings that the Governor appointee would not be admitted. “This is an additional temporary responsibility, and till the new Vice Chancellor assumes charge, I intend to fulfil it.”
‘Working as a team’
Admitting that the employees were protesting, she said she needed to take them into confidence if she were to discharge her responsibility. “We have to work as a team.” A prominent university such as KTU could not function without a Vice Chancellor. Only then could students’ interests be protected. When measures for their benefit were implemented, they would withdraw from the agitation, she said. The post of Vice Chancellor in the KTU fell vacant after the Supreme Court cancelled the appointment of M.S. Rajasree on a plea stating that her appointment was not in accordance with UGC norms.