Posting row: Syndicate members ‘gherao’ Vice Chancellor

Police use water cannon to disperse protesting SFI students demanding the resignation of Vice Chancellor in Thiruvanthapuram on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: S MAHINSHA

The Vice Chancellor (VC) of the University of Kerala P.K. Radhakrishnan was on Wednesday ‘gheraoed’ by members of the Syndicate who wanted an inquiry into allegations of nepotism in the appointment of a faculty member in the Department of Education.

The VC was ‘gheraoed’ inside the Syndicate room soon after Wednesday’s meeting began. It was in February 2017 that the interview for the post of assistant professor in the Department of Education was held.

There were two vacancies; one in the general category and one, in the Ezhava category. Following the gherao which lasted for more than two hours, it was decided to set up a four-member Syndicate subcommittee headed by A.A. Rahim to probe the allegations of nepotism in the appointment made to the Department of Education. It was also decided to hold a special meeting of the Syndicate on December 16 to discuss the committee’s report and decide on the future course of action.

According to Syndicate members who spoke to The Hindu on this issue, documents sourced form the university under the RTI Act revealed that undeserving candidates were given more marks while deserving candidates were not awarded due marks. A candidate who got 25 marks out of 80 for academic merit was given 19 marks out of 20 for the interview. However, a candidate who received 44 marks out of 80 for academic merit was given only 6 marks out of 20 for interview.

Moreover, a candidate who did not have any national awards was given three marks due to those who have such awards. Also, a candidate who did not have a doctoral degree was found to have been awarded marks for post-doctoral research experience. Irregularities were found even in awarding marks for those with more than one PG degree.

According to Syndicate members, the allegation of nepotism in the appointment to the Department of Education has brought under a cloud all similar appointments carried out recently. The allegedly unilateral action of the vice chancellor in fixing reservation norms for 100-plus teacher appointments has also incensed the Syndicate.

A conspiracy

In the meantime, a press note issued here by the vice chancellor said the disruption of the Syndicate meeting by a small group of members was the result of a conspiracy. In the interview held months ago, it was an applicant who had a first rank in the master’s degree, a doctorate, a Fulbright fellowship, and had research papers published in international journals who was selected for the post of assistant professor. This candidate has also won two international awards. Among all the teachers in the 42 teaching departments this candidate alone has a Fulbright fellowship.

A small group of Syndicate members had mislead the Syndicate during Wednesday’s meeting. The interview committee could not find a better candidate for appointment.

Questioning the integrity of the interview committee was a disgrace to the university itself, the press note added.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 12:38:13 AM |

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