Unrest brewing at IIT–Jodhpur over Director’s diktat

April 03, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 05:41 am IST - JAIPUR:

Discontent is brewing at the Indian Institute of Technology - Jodhpur against the Director with the students resorting to agitation demanding his removal for his “dictatorial attitude”. Disquiet was simmering ever since the Institute came up with a code of conduct which prohibits the students and the staff from reaching out to media or airing their views on social media, and disallows students from associating with any political party.

“We feel that our Institute is in a very bad condition and we are facing various serious issues all due to one person – the Director. Over the past one-and-half years, there have been many instances of dictatorship, autocracy, favouritism due to which many faculty and staff have been terminated senselessly and many have left the Institute bearing pressure due to non-conducive environment,” according to a petition sent to the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Board of Governors.

The petition has been signed by 770-odd students of the Institute demanding the resignation of the Director Prof. C.V.R. Murty, roll back of the recent termination of a faculty member Ganesh Bagler, and transparent and fair investigation of all the past terminations of faculty/staff of the Institute.

In the letter sent to the Ministry, the students have said that the administration recently passed a Code of Conduct for the students, which prevents them from speaking to media, not just about the institute, but also on their opinions on ‘controversial topics’.

Also, students cannot be affiliated to any political party, and are not allowed to participate in activities/summits of any political party. “This takes away the very democratic right to choose and to make electoral choices. The students are not allowed to post anything about the Institute on social media, a curb on their freedom of speech. They are also not allowed to protest against the Institute or voice their opinion against the administration,” the letter said.

Although IIT-J had been facing a faculty crunch for a long time, faculty attrition has increased like never before under the present Director. Most faculty complain of internal politics, lack of freedom to work, and harassment as the reasons for leaving. Over the past year, more than 10 faculty members have left the Institute, six faculty have been terminated and 8 have resigned since, the students have said.

Closing down of Innovation and Incubation Centre - inaugurated by the President in 2011, disbanding new undergraduate programme and centralisation of power are some other issues that have been raised by the students.

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