Eight JNU professors write to President, allege “misconduct” in faculty appointments
Eight professors from Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) School of Physical Sciences have written to the President of India flagging “malfeasance” in recent faculty appointments in their school. They urged the President to intervene, in his capacity as visitor of the University, and keep all appointments in question in “abeyance”.
In their letter dated November 23, addressed to President Ram Nath Kovind — which was also marked to JNU vice chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar— the eight faculty members said, “We bring to your kind attention the gross violation of ethics and procedures that have occurred during the recent round of recruitments related to the School of Physical Sciences, JNU, New Delhi.”
In their letter, the professors have listed several violations in recruitments done by the university earlier this month. For instance, a candidate selected for the position of professor does not have the required experience, they alleged. In another case, a person selected for the position of the associate professor was not short-listed by the selection committee.
Requesting the President to intervene, the professors said, “We pray that the appointments mentioned be kept in abeyance until all aspects of the conduct and outcome of the selection process (Including whether the best available candidates were selected and whether the external subject experts on the selection committee were qualified to meaningfully judge the quality of research in the relevant areas of specialisation) are scrutinised by a committee of leading physicists and astrophysicists...”
The letter was sent ahead of the university’s 290th Executive Council (EC) meeting held on Wednesday. One of the signatory professors, who wished not to be named, said, “Some of the recent recruitments are former JNU students who support a certain ideology and have affiliation to some organisations. They do not have the required experience and proper research work on the subject.”
Contacted, JNU registrar Pramod Kumar said, “The faculty members have sent the letter to the visitor. We will look into this, if the visitor asks us to. We have nothing to say about it.”
JNU V-C did not respond to calls and texts sent seeking comments on the issue.
Earlier in September, HT had reported that an inquiry committee had been set up to review the four appointments of faculty members, after several members of the EC — the highest decision-making body — objected to their candidatures and alleged discrepancies in the recruitment process.
Moushumi Basu, secretary of JNU teachers Association (JNUTA), said, “The allegations reiterate the long-standing demand for a public inquiry into all the appointments made by the current vice chancellor so far.”
Meanwhile, the JNU administration also issued a statement saying that it has decided to celebrate Swami Vivekanada youth festival every year. The decision was taken during the EC meeting. The EC also passed a resolution to constitute a committee to develop academic/research programmes on Swami Vivekananda.