DU, College of Art faculty oppose merger with Ambedkar University Delhi
Delhi University officials and members of the faculty at the College of Art on Wednesday said the Delhi government’s decision to merge the institution with the state-run Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) was “illegal and arbitrary” even as the AAP government asserted that the college needed reforms and that it was authorised to decide the college’s affiliation.
The college, which is currently affiliated with Delhi University, is funded fully by the Delhi government. The Delhi Cabinet on Tuesday decided to merge the college, located on Tilak Marg in central Delhi, with AUD. It offers six undergraduate and five postgraduate courses in applied art, art history, painting, printmaking, visual communication, and culture. Around 1,400 students are currently enrolled with the college.
DU officials and the faculty also alleged that the government did not follow the due process.
DU registrar Vikas Gupta said the Delhi government has not followed the “democratic process”. “The government wrote to the university 8-10 days ago, saying that they wanted to take over the college. But it did not give us the required time to follow the due process.”
“As per the democratic process, we asked the principal of the College of Art to give the comment. Once we receive the response, we will have to place it before our academic council. In case the academic council approves, the matter will go to the executive council for final approval. However, we have not yet received any comment from the college principal yet and the Delhi government has already announced the decision... We are not even sure if the Ambedkar University can affiliate colleges,” he said.
Delhi education minister Manish Sisodia said the government was authorised to take a decision about a college owned by it. “It is a Delhi government college. It’s up to the Delhi government to decide from which university it wants to attach it. The college is in really bad shape. It needs lots of reforms and its staff needs lots of support,” Sisodia said, adding that the Ambedkar University Delhi is authorised to have constituent colleges.
DU will write to the Delhi government on Thursday, asking it to follow the “due process”, said Dean of Colleges Balram Pani. “The way the Delhi government has taken the decision is illegal. We are writing to them to follow the due process before taking any decision...We will take legal action in the matter if the government will not do so” he said.
The college faculty said on Wednesday that they were not consulted by the authorities. “We got to know about the decision through news reporters on Wednesday. The change in affiliation with a state university will change our service conditions and salary structure… We have been getting frantic calls from the students since morning. Most of the students enrol here just for a DU degree,” said a faculty member at the college, requesting anonymity.
College officiating principal BS Chauhan, however, said that it will be good for the college and students if it merges with AUD. “The college has been struggling to function smoothly due to the involvement of multiple agencies. There has been no permanent appointment on the principal’s post since 2012. We only have 14 faculty at present on over 56 sanctioned posts. All the remaining posts are lying vacant. The Delhi government’s decision will be good for the college and students,” he said.
In a statement, DU teachers’ association (DUTA) criticised the Delhi government’s decision. “This can be seen as a continuation of the attempts to push premier and specialised institutions into the self-financing mode with no responsibility to fund as was done in the case of DTU and NSIT,” it said.
In 2019, the Delhi government de-affiliated the Delhi College of Engineering from DU and made a separate university called the Delhi Technological University (DTU). It also converted DU’s Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology into a university.