Over 400 academicians from international varsities, including Harvard, Cambridge, London School of Economics, Yale and New York University, have written to JNU vice-chancellor Jagadesh Kumar voicing concerns over recent events unfolding at the university.
The scholars from across the globe have signed an open letter to Kumar saying that the “academic culture and context that has formed basis of cooperation with international institutions is under serious threat”.
“We are deeply concerned and shocked at the events unfolding on your campus and we urge the responsible authorities to act decisively to protect the future of JNU as an internationally renowned university of academic excellence, which has produced generations of excellent researchers, scholars and other professionals,” the letter said.
The letter said it was “shocking” that the university, known for its academic freedom and autonomy that fosters debate, discussion and dissent, was now being “wilfully destroyed”.
JNU has been hogging a negative limelight for over a year after its students were arrested in a sedition case last February in connection with an event during which “anti-national” slogans were allegedly raised.
Since then, the students union and the teachers association have been at loggerheads with the administration over denial of permission to protest on campus, disappearance of a student after a brawl, deduction of salaries of teachers’ protesting and show-cause notices issued to them, and the latest confrontation on amendments in the admission policy leading to massive seat cuts in MPhil and PhD courses.
“We also feel that such an attack on public education in universities like JNU disables opportunities for the historically marginalised communities of India. It is essential that an enabling admission policy, like the one in place in JNU must be retained, other than abiding by the constitutionally mandated policies for affirmative action,” the letter said.
“Now, however, the academic culture and context that has formed the very basis of our cooperation with JNU is under serious threat, we request you to restore the institutional autonomy and provide assurance to the international community that JNU will maintain its commitment to an academic and intellectual, vision of a university that champions academic freedoms, teaching and research, keeping social and gender justice, and civil liberties intact,” it added.