In an unprecedented move, the Supreme Council of St Stephen's College announced on Thursday that all academic or administrative decisions taken by former officer on special duty Reverend Valson Thampu, were being discontinued. This includes the new admission policy introduced last year.
“Everything that happened with Dr Thampu’s appointment goes. Decisions taken during his time have an effect on how the college functions. Whoever is selected principal will have to agree with the policies. In case he or she disagrees, they will feel restricted,” said Sunil Mathew, spokesperson Supreme Council. Mathew also added that the decision would apply to all changes brought about by Thampu, including appointments.
Thampu and the then chairman of the Supreme Council Karam Masih had announced that 40 per cent of the seats at the entry level would be reserved for Christian students. Ten per cent of these seats were supposed to be filled by Dalit Christian students.
Students from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, physically challenged applicants and children of war widows were to fill another 15 per cent of the seats. It is a different matter that very few Dalit students could actually get in as the decision was announced late during the admission process.
Mathew, however, indicated that the admission policy introduced by Thampu last year may not be changed and may be reintroduced a week later or so. “The Supreme Council may tomorrow bring the admission policy back. There are very strong indications that the admission policy will not be changed. But there will be fresh deliberations on the issue. The Bishop is very committed to this cause,” Mathew told Hindustan Times.
Asked if this means that every time a new principal is appointed, St Stephen's College will witness a complete change of policy, Mathew said: "This normally does not happen, but the Supreme Council wants to appear as impartial in the selection process. There is a lot of political pressure - the Supreme Council wants to assure everyone - the media and political groups. All his decisions about appointments, admissions and running of the college will have to go with him,” said Mathew.
Mathew said the 50 years to 60 years age criteria for anyone applying for the principal's post that had generated much controversy was purely a preference expressed by the college. “The 50 years to 60 years age criteria is a preferable quality - but it is not carved in stone. If you get a person who is exceptional, age will not be criterion. I must also reiterate that if you are a minority institution, you have more elbow room,” added Mathew.