St Stephen’s Profs Say They’ll Quit If College Becomes Autonomous

On Wednesday, nearly 800 students of St Stephen’s College staged a “silent protest”.

2 min read
(Photo Courtesy: Facebook/<a href="">Akash Bhattacharya</a>)

A section of teachers at St Stephen’s College in Delhi University’s North Campus have threatened to resign their administrative posts in protest against the college’s Governing Body's decision to seek autonomy, even as students staged a protest against the move on Wednesday.

A teacher, who is also a member of the staff association, said the GB meeting where the decision to seek autonomy was taken, was called in an “undemocratic manner”.

The decision was taken despite the dissent of four members. The staff association of the college has decided that teachers will resign from the administrative positions they are holding on non-remunerative basis.

The Governing Body is an 18-member body comprising teachers, members of the church and other elected representatives.

Principal John Varghese claimed the decision will not affect the students and teachers as the minority status already gives autonomy to the college.

On Wednesday, nearly 800 students of the college staged a “silent protest”, according to Delhi University Teacher’s Association’s press release.

Students sit in protest at the Andrews Court in St Stephen’s College. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/<a href="">Akash Bhattacharya</a>)
Students sit in protest at the Andrews Court in St Stephen’s College. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Akash Bhattacharya)

The students and DUTA deem the move as ‘unilateral’ and ‘improper’. A petition signed by over 500 students and 30 teachers had earlier been presented to the Governing Body, arguing that the decision should be taken with consultation and consensus.

The plea was reportedly not considered by the Governing Body.

According to DUTA, the meeting to forward the proposal was held during the college fest and the announcement of the meeting was made during the morning assembly “on a day classes had been suspended by the university, which was then followed by a public holiday and a weekend.”

Student protests on 25 February at St Stephen’s College. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/<a href="">Nandita Narain</a>)
Student protests on 25 February at St Stephen’s College. (Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Nandita Narain)

With the Central government announcing provisions for more autonomy for educational institutions across the country in the annual budget, Delhi University had earlier this month formed a committee for its colleges which are seeking autonomy or university status.

Colleges like SRCC, St Stephen's, Ramjas, Hansraj and the ones run by Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee had approached the university and HRD officials seeking greater autonomy and decision-making powers.

Unless the colleges get university status with degree-awarding powers, granting them more autonomy will not necessarily mean that they will not be part of the university.

Besides imparting quality education, maintaining the student-faculty ratio and required infrastructure, the colleges are also required to gain A-grade in NAAC accreditation for three consecutive times in order to be eligible for autonomous status.

(With inputs from PTI)

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