JNU senior faculties protest appointment of a junior as dean of a school

JNU senior faculties protest appointment of a junior as dean of a school

Four senior professors of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Monday protested the varsity's decision to appoint a faculty as the dean of a centre even though he was far junior to them.

They urged vice chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar to “immediately” revoke the appointment of Pradipta K Chaudhary as the dean of the JNU's School of Social Sciences and start the selection process afresh. They contended that the varsity's decision to appoint Chaudhary superseding five of his seniors was “legally untenable.”

“This is clearly arbitrary and unprecedented. It can give rise to fears of arbitrariness and favoritism, since the well established norm has been bypassed, thereby setting a very dangerous precedent for future functioning of this institution,” Kunal Chakrabarti, Jayati Ghosh, Rajat Datta and Ravi Srivastava, the four faculties of the SSS whose seniority were ignored in the appointment, said in a joint petition to the vice-chancellor.

This comes days after the JNU vice chancellor approved the appointment of Chaudhary. The JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA) then flayed Kumar for his decision, saying he had flouted “a long-established convention” of taking seniority of the faculties in consideration in appointment of the deans and chairpersons of various centres of the varsity.

“We are writing to express our surprise, dismay and extreme concern at the manner in which you have chosen to appoint dean of the School of Social Sciences. We wish to emphasise that the issues being raised in our letter are not about individuals but about important principles that should govern the administration of the JNU,” the four professors said.

They noted that the JNU had “a long standing practice and a well established norm” of going by seniority and rotation in the appointment of chairpersons and deans of various centres and schools.

“This has only been broken in exceptional circumstances when there are compelling reasons to do so such as the non-availability of the person concerned or some other pressing reasons. And that too after due consultation with the possible incumbent and clear elaboration of the reasons behind such a decision,” they said.

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