JNU VC selection enters last round

Headhunting for new Jawaharlal Nehru University Vice Chancellor will enter its final phase with the search-cum-selection committee inviting nearly 15 candidates for personal interaction on December 30.

The selected candidates comprise JNU professors and incumbent VCs of different institutions.

The current VC Sudhir Kumar Sopory completes his term next month.
At least five professors from within the JNU fraternity are in the race for vice-chancellorship. Those from outside the JNU fold include IIM-Ahmedabad professor Anil Kumar Gupta, leading malaria researcher Virender Singh Chauhan, VC of Bilaspur University Gauri Dutt Sharma and current chairperson of IIAS in Shimla Chandrakala Padia.

The search-cum-selection committee of JNU is headed by former Banaras Hindu University VC Dhirendra Pal Singh. The two others members on the committee are former Indian Space Research Organisation chief K Radhakrishnan and former diplomat Ashok Sen.

Based on the interaction, the panel will recommend three or four names to the Human Resource Development Ministry, of which one will be appointed the new VC of the university.

As per the JNU statues, VCs are not eligible for a second term. Sixty-six-year-old Sopory, the incumbent VC, will demit his office in the last week of January.

Sopory said he recently gave a presentation before the JNU court, the highest statutory body, on his “work performance” in the last four years. He said his “biggest regret” is that he couldn’t get breakthroughs in building more hostels on campus.  

The VC during his tenure saw two student strikes on the issue. Claiming that the university didn’t get necessary clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest in time, he said, “The proposal was sent to the ridge management board, but we don’t know what happened after that.”

To his credit, the 2008 Supreme Court ban on student union elections was lifted during his tenure. He is also lauded for powering JNU to the highest National Assessment and Accreditation Council grade in the country.

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