Almost five years after Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar took over as the Vice Chancellor of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, the Union Ministry of Education (MoE) is on the lookout for a new academic and administrative head to lead the the institute of excellence, as Kumar’s tenure is now drawing to a close.
An advertisement issued by the (MoE) on Saturday, 24 October, said that the VC is expected to be a person with the “highest level of competence, integrity, morals and institutional commitment.”
Apart from this, the person should either be a distinguished academician with at least 10 years of experience as professor in a university or should have proven academic leadership in a reputed research or academic administrative organisation for the same period.
The applicant, however, should not exceed 65 years of age.
How Will the VC be selected?
First, a panel of names will be recommended by a committee constituted under the provisions of Jawaharlal Nehru University Act, 1966. The names of short-listed candidates are then sent by the Ministry of Education to the President, along with a short not on their suitability.
Although the president is not bound to follow the Ministry’s top choice, he usually endorses the candidate suggested by the ministry.
Mired in Controversies
VC Mamidala had faced criticism over his handling of the situation that prevailed in the university, following disagreements over hostel fee hike between the administration and student, teacher bodies in 2019.
According to The Print, in a note purportedly sent to the Prime Minister’s Office in November 2019, the Ministry of Education had stated that VC Mamidala had “come with an agenda to change the character of the university.”
The note, according to the report, further said that “Whereas it may be required in many cases, the change should have been calibrated and brought-in through more innocuous means.”
The report also mentions that the university administration had come to a standstill after VC Mamidala shied away from meeting protesting students, fearing their anger.
Shadow of Sedition & Masked mobs
It was also under VC Kumar’s tenure that the university saw masked mobs armed with rods entering the university, creating a situation of violence on campus and injuring students. While there were allegations of police inaction, VC Kumar had said that the varsity had acted with urgency.
Moreover, a month after VC Kumar had taken charge, a controversy of sedition had hit the university, following protests over the hanging of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru in 2013.
An FIR filed in the wake of the protests had accused former JNU Students Union President Umar Khalid, Kanhaiya Kumar and others of raising alleged anti-national slogans at the varsity.