Days after an inquiry report indicted the founding members of an online magazine by St Stephen’s College students for undermining the principal’s authority, one of the students has been stripped of a “good conduct” prize he was due to receive.
A lawyer representing the student, Devansh Mehta, on Tuesday called it a “vindictive” action by principal Valson Thampu.
Mehta, a bachelors student of philosophy, had been selected by the faculty for the Rai Saheb Banarsi Das Memorial Prize. He was due to receive it from Arvind Kejriwal on dismissal day. Instead, documents accessed by Newsline show, Mehta has been struck off the list of awardees and replaced by another student.
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The prize is awarded to an undergraduate student in philosophy or economics who has shown a high standard of personal behaviour and a marked degree of curricular and co-curricular interaction.
“Thampu, in a vindictive strike against the student chief editor of the banned St Stephen’s Weekly, has stripped Devansh Mehta of the prize he was due to receive… Teachers of the college have protested this action…stating that he did not have the right to do so as the prize was awarded based on a department selection,” reads a statement issued by lawyer Sunil Mathews.
Principal Thampu told PTI that there was no question of giving Mehta the award. “The person has misbehaved… the disciplinary committee has also said this in a report that he is guilty of misconduct and insulted the college. How can we award him?” Thampu said.
“No one has denied him, he has disqualified himself for… the citation, which says it is for good conduct.” he said.
Thampu had suspended a student-run website for publishing the weekly without waiting for his go-ahead. The digital newspaper was launched on March 5 and contained news reports about college events, a play review and an interview with Thampu. It also featured an article on the history of campus jokes and pranks played over the years.