The University Grants Commission (UGC) came out as virtually running Delhi University (DU) on Tuesday, after 57 of the university’s 64 colleges that had offered the Four-Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) last year said they would comply with the commission’s orders to switch to the three-year programme.
An extraordinary day on campus saw the university spokesperson saying Vice Chancellor (VC) Dinesh Singh had resigned, only for the announcement — which was greeted with dancing and celebration by the VC’s detractors — to be subsequently denied.
Separately, the Supreme Court refused to stay the UGC’s June 20 directive scrapping the FYUP, and asked the petitioner, a former president of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association, to approach the High Court.
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DU had on Monday forwarded the orders of the UGC to the principals of the colleges. This UGC directive followed its directives of June 20 and June 22, telling the university to scrap FYUP, and to admit students for 2014-15 only to the three-year course.
On Monday, hours before the first cut-offs for admission were to be announced, colleges deferred the process, complaining of “conflicting guidelines” from UGC and DU.
Around 3 on Tuesday afternoon, DU media coordinator Malay Neerav said, “The Vice Chancellor has resigned. And this is the single line of conversation I have been asked to communicate.”
Soon afterward, there were reports that three other senior DU officials, Pro Vice Chancellor Sudhish Pachauri, Dean of Colleges Malashri Lal and Director, South Campus Umesh Rai, too had resigned.
University officials were seen rushing to the VC’s residence in North Campus to persuade him to reconsider his purported resignation. “We have come here after hearing media reports about the VC’s resignation. We have asked him not to resign and we also hope that a solution to the issue will be found soon, keeping in mind the interests of students,” said DU’s Pro Vice Chancellor Sudhish Pachauri said.
Speaking to reporters outside the VC’s residence, Sangit Ragi, Deputy Dean (Academics) denied reports of Singh resigning. “Neither the Vice Chancellor nor any senior university officials have resigned,” Ragi said.
Later, Neerav said he had initially been told that Singh has resigned; however, senior officials had been able subsequently to persuade the VC to change his mind.
“I received communication from the university office to convey that the VC had resigned in the afternoon and conveyed it. Later in the day, on account of senior faculty members making an earnest request to him, he changed his mind,” Neerav said. He said the VC had never actually written a letter of resignation.
The VC’s legal adviser Surat Singh said “the vice chancellor had neither resigned earlier, nor did he wish to resign now… I advised him that it was not a good idea”.
Surat Singh added, “The university will respect what the government says, as according to law, it has the power to advise the university on higher education matters. But at the same time, it should be remembered that the university is autonomous, and cannot be controlled or ordered around”.
With the UGC mounting pressure on the university administration, university sources said, the matter escalated on Tuesday afternoon after the UGC allegedly threatened to take action against the VC for not submitting a compliance report to its earlier letter.
“Following this, the Vice Chancellor was outraged and he said that he would resign. However, no resignation letter was sent. Many university officials and friends persuaded him to not take that step,” a source said.