The issue of reservation for senior faculty positions has split Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) right in the middle, triggering a politics of identity.
The University Grants Commission (UGC), a regulatory body, had in 2006 issued guidelines extending quota to the ranks of professor and associate professor. Earlier, reservation was provided at entry-level — assistant professor.
Those favouring quota say very few from the weaker sections have made to the senior ranks, those against say it will compromise merit.
JNU is debating the matter months after it called applications for senior positions in compliance with the guidelines.
While Delhi University has ignored the UGC norms, JNU, too, seems to be dithering. After a heated discussion at the executive council meet on Tuesday, impasse remains.
Both camps have claimed victory. Vice-Chancellor B.B. Bhattacharya has chosen silence and the UGC is not pleased. “If any university takes a view contrary to the 2006 guidelines, it’ll be against government policy,” UGC Secretary RK Chauhan told HT. “Any university getting public money must follow public policy. ” All central universities, but DU, had accepted the norms, he said.
Ten per cent of DU’s non-plan grant has been withheld. “This new step, which is not legally binding on JNU, has been taken without wide consultation with the faculty,” those anti the guidelines wrote to Bhattacharya. Four former JNU V-Cs, including Asis Dutta and Y.K. Alagh, are among them. They argue that not all guidelines are mandatory, and many have been ignored earlier.
The pro-quota group’s argument: till 2006, only 11 of 1,430 professors in 20 central universities were Dalits, and only 17 from the Scheduled Tribes (STs). While 29 of 2,592 associate professors were Dalits, only 31 were STs. The anti-quota camp’s grouse: 20 of 38 professor positions, and 31 of 53 associate professor positions advertised in 2009 are reserved.