Tamil Nadu

Flagging issues at MIDS, faculty stages hunger strike

C. Lakshmanan, an Associate Professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS), began an indefinite hunger strike on the campus on Monday, alleging arbitrariness and lack of transparency on the part of the administration.

The strike was, however, withdrawn in the evening following an emergency faculty meeting, during which an assurance was given that some of his demands would be met, while others would be discussed.

The key issues raised by him included the failure to conduct faculty meetings on a regular basis and circulate the minutes of such meetings, arbitrariness in appointments to a few administrative posts and lack of transparency, particularly after the current Director, P.G. Babu, took charge.

Mr. Lakshmanan, also the convenor of Dalit Intellectual Collective, said that contrary to the democratic and transparent ways in which the institute was run earlier, there was an absolute lack of transparency.

“There is no communication with all faculty members. Ph.D admissions have not happened this year. However, there is no discussion or communication on that. The institute is entering its golden jubilee year. We do not know what plans are being made,” he said.

Alleging discrimination against Scheduled Caste members, he demanded an effective grievance redressal mechanism. His other demands included better representation of Associate Professors and Assistant Professors in administrative bodies and an explanation for the ‘arbitrary’ non-extension of the tenure of a young Publication Officer.

The Hindu reached out to other faculty members on the issues raised by Mr. Lakshmanan. Three of them responded. While concurring with him on some of his concerns like the non-conduct of faculty meetings and the need for more transparency, they said they were not aware of any procedural violations in the appointments of, or extensions given to, administrative staff. On the alleged discrimination against Scheduled Caste members, they said no formal complaints were received.

While The Hindu sent a questionnaire to the Director on the specific allegations, he said the issues had already been discussed at Monday's faculty meeting. He expressed the hope that they would be resolved internally.


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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 10:42:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/flagging-issues-at-mids-faculty-stages-hunger-strike/article37170087.ece

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