The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) administration found itself going head-to-head with teachers and students once again Tuesday during the 143rd Academic Council (AC) meeting held on the issue of cuts in MPhil and PhD seats.
While teachers and students claimed the AC did not confirm the minutes of the previous (142nd) meeting and asked that amendments be made to them, thereby nullifying the adoption of the UGC gazette notification of May 2016, and the subsequent cut in research seats caused by it, the administration said the minutes had been approved with “only nine dissents”. While the former said the current admission policy stands “illegal” and cannot be implemented, the administration said it plans to go ahead with admissions with the seat cut.
The meeting, which was videographed, saw protests outside the venue by students who sloganeered against seat cuts. Scholar Madhu Kishwar, who attended her first meeting, also faced slogans against her.
“Such furore over Madhu Kishwar appointment as JNU AC member as tho I’ve been nominated President of India! This is not even a power position,” Kishwar tweeted. JNU Teachers’ Association president Ayesha Kidwai said, “Only 13 members (of the 65-odd present) spoke in favour of the minutes being confirmed.”
“The V-C tried to avoid a discussion on confirmation of the minutes, saying the matter was sub-judice, but when a huge majority persisted, he had to allow. Almost everyone said all objections must be recorded and a lot of people said minutes should be altered. In fact, 29 people had given in writing that minutes needed to be amended,” she said.
JNUSU president Mohit Pandey, who was also present at the meeting, said, “The V-C, without giving any reason, without asking the members, said the meeting is adjourned and ran away. This means the current admission policy of JNU stands illegal, as it has not been passed by any JNU body.”
After the 142nd AC meeting too, 34 AC members had written to the V-C, saying, “Items were read out amidst protest, and deemed to have been passed without any discussion, which is not correct.” However, Rector Chintamani Mahapatra said the minutes had been approved: “The minutes were confirmed and the consensus was that dissent will be noted. Only nine people sent their writings.”