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JNU Teachers’ Association alleges harassment over leave application, calls policy ‘arbitrary’

JNUTA said they were “extremely dismayed to learn that the 300th EC did not deliberate on the leave applications of these eight colleagues”.

JNUTA said there had been a “continuous problem of delay/denial in the granting of academic leave” to teachers “using various flimsy and illegal pretexts”. (File photo)

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) has hit out at the administration for the “harassment” of teachers, alleging that the leave applications of eight faculty members have been referred to a newly-formed ‘Leave Committee’ as opposed to being discussed and passed in the Executive Council (EC).

They have demanded that the EC “withdraw the resolutions setting up this Leave Committee process” and that an “Emergency EC be convened to consider the pending leave applications of these eight colleagues”.

They said they were “apprehensive” that the “unstated goal of this new procedure is to dilute the power of the various authorities instituted by the JNU Act and to introduce an undesirable centralisation of the decision-making process in the office of the VC”. The JNUTA said there had been a “continuous problem of delay/denial in the granting of academic leave” to teachers “using various flimsy and illegal pretexts”.

“The JNUTA had hoped that, with the change in administration, this era of punishment by procrastination and arbitrariness would come to an end. To its dismay, however, it finds only a continuation of the same harassment… Eight JNU faculty have once again been made victims of arbitrary decision-making by the JNU Executive Council in its 300th meeting held on May 5 2022. Five of these applications were for Sabbatical Leave (for the purpose of writing books/research monographs) and three were for Extraordinary Leave (for the purpose of taking up research fellowships). As per the JNU Ordinances and the practice, both EOL and Sabbatical Leave applications are decided upon by the Executive Council,” the JNUTA said in a statement.

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They said they were “extremely dismayed to learn that the 300th EC did not deliberate on the leave applications of these eight colleagues”.

For the leave applications, the EC minutes state: “Resolved to authorize the Vice-Chancellor to constitute a Leave Committee for examination/scrutiny of applications for Sabbatical Leave, Study Leave, Extra Ordinary Leave (EOL) and other long term leaves received from faculty members and the Leave Committee will submit its recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor who may either grant leave or refer the matter to the Executive Council as deemed fit”.

The JNUTA said it was “at a loss to understand why these applications, all submitted in a timely fashion, all duly approved by the Centres and Chairperson/Dean of the Schools concerned and all vetted by the Academic Branch (which assists the EC by providing the relevant factual information), were not discussed and decided upon by the EC”.

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“The JNU administration will surely be aware that the requirement that no more than 20% of the faculty may be on long leave at a time entails that faculty at the Centre level need to plan the sabbaticals/study leave/ EOL leave applications years in advance, so the introduction of a new hoop that faculty has to jump through in the system has an impact that goes far beyond the individual, and has a cascading effect at the Centre/School. Finally, lost/delayed opportunities for fellowships or delayed research publications only damage the university’s research profile and its position in national and international rankings,” the JNUTA added.

When contacted, Vice-Chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit said, “It is just to streamline. There are no changes. The committee will recommend and it (leave) will be granted.”

First published on: 18-05-2022 at 11:08:05 am
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