A draft constitution by St Stephen’s College Principal Valson Thampu, sent by him to a select group of teachers, has proposed some major changes in the administration of the premier educational institution.
The draft by Thampu, who is set to retire in February next year, proposes expanding the college to an “educational society” which would “amalgamate” with other institutions, including schools and medical colleges. It also seeks to remove the minimum teaching experience needed to apply for post of principal, increase powers of the principal and the Supreme Council (SC) and reduce the number of teacher representatives in the Governing Body (GB) by half.
The amendments put forward by Thampu will be discussed in a meeting of the Governing Body, scheduled on Monday.
The name of the constitution itself has been changed from ‘Constitution of St Stephen’s College’ to ‘Constitution of St Stephen’s Educational Society’. The draft mentions that the work of the society would be “to amalgamate with any other institution, organisation, association”, in which the institution is defined as “educational institutions, schools, colleges, universities, medical colleges and learning centres established by the society”.
Earlier, 15 years of teaching experience along with a PhD in the relevant subject was the criteria for the selection of the college principal. According to the draft constitution, an applicant needs to be a “senior teacher of repute”, and Indian national and a member of the Church of North India.
The draft constitution also proposes increasing the number of SC members from six to seven and GB members from 18 to 19. However, instead of four teacher representatives from the college earlier, the draft proposes including two in the GB.
According to the earlier constitution, two permanent teachers were elected and two others were chosen by rotation. But the draft constitution proposes removing the elected teacher representatives.
“This change is particularly crucial. When the framework of the constitution was made, the number of teacher representatives was deliberately kept to four, so that along with the university representatives (2), there would be an equilibrium,” said a senior faculty member.
Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) president and college faculty member Nandita Narain claimed that legally, the draft could not be passed in Monday’s meeting.
“There have to be at least two meetings with a gap of not less than three months before any such thing can be passed. What Thampu is trying to do is very dangerous, and it needs to be asked why he is doing this at the tail-end of a very controversial tenure,” she said.
The draft constitution also proposes increasing powers of the college principal.
“The principal shall have and exercise complete control over the discipline of the institution, the courses taught in the college as well as its day-to-day administration”. He/she will also “prepare annual confidential reports and periodical evaluation reports on all such persons while on probation”, and determine “which staff members shall reside in the institution’s staff quarters in the interest of the institution”.
Earlier, the disciplinary powers were vested in the GB and staff quarters were allocated as per seniority.
The draft constitution also proposes that the SC be given new powers, including controlling the “policy, development and direction of the institution(s)” and deciding “all questions of capital expenditure in connection with the establishment of new institution(s)”.
Multiple attempts to reach Thampu and SC member Daljit Titus failed.
Deepak Mukarji,a member of the GB, said, “I’m not a spokesperson for the Governing Body and do not want to comment on the issue.”
Harassment case: Student guided to frame the accused, claims Thampu
In a Facebook post on the alleged sexual harassment of a St Stephen’s research student by a professor, college principal Valson Thampu said he supported capital punishment for the “unscrupulous handlers” of the complainant.
“This is a condemnation of all those who used her so callously and have now conveniently forgotten their gullible tool. This is atrocity of the most abominable kind. I would advocate capital punishment only for such crimes; for this is worse than cold blooded murder in which the living corpse is shut up in the mortuary of self-mortification.”
“She seems to have evaporated. Her unscrupulous handlers have dropped her, not even like ‘hot potato’. The media has discarded her like a used and crushed paper cup. I knew from the outset — and stated it ever so often in emphatic terms — that this would be her tragic plight,” he wrote. “She was guided, as is it seems, to frame the accused and instigated, as admitted, to drag me into the melee in a last-ditch effort to settle the scores of the instigators. The girl was truly a VICTIM.By now at least it should be clear whose victim she was,” he wrote.