Recruitment of new JNU V-C delayed, Jagadesh Kumar may continue for now
The term of current Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar is set to end on January 26, but not much is happening in way of choosing his successor, JNU officials in the know of the matter has said. They said Kumar is likely to continue in his position for a while longer, until the new V-C assumes charge.
The Union education ministry, last October, had released an advertisement inviting applications for the position of vice-chancellor and, later, a three-member search panel was constituted to look after the recruitment process.
The ad had invited applications from “distinguished academicians, with a minimum of 10 years’ of experience as professor in a university or 10 years’ of experience in a reputed research and/or academic administrative organisation with proof of having demonstrated academic leadership”.
Officials in the JNU administration said until Thursday evening, they have had no communication about the panel meeting or the progress in the selection process. A senior official at JNU, requesting anonymity, said, “Less than a week is left in the tenure of the current V-C but there has been no update on the selection process of the new V-C. That indicates some delay in the process. In such a situation, either the current V-C continues to serve till a new one takes charge, or the ministry posts someone on an interim basis. In our case, it is likely that Kumar will continue for a while longer.”
When contacted, a senior official at the education ministry, on condition of anonymity, said,“The ministry has initiated the process of recruiting the new vice-chancellor. A decision is yet to be taken on whether the present V-C will continue on an interim basis. Everything will be communicated to the university soon.”
Kumar’s tenure as JNU V-C had been marked by several protests and controversies, including the 2016 sedition row, and protests on hostel fee hike which was followed by an attack on campus by a masked mob in January 2020, which had left several students and teachers injured.
He had also made the headlines in 2017 when he suggested that an army tank should be installed on the JNU campus in order to instil nationalism among students.
Despite several attempts, Kumar did not respond to calls and texts sent for comment.
JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA) members said they have been trying to seek an appointment with Amit Khare, secretary to the Union ministry of education, to discuss the issue of the new V-C. “The recruitment process should have been completed by now as Kumar’s tenure ends on January 26. For us, he won’t be a V-C after that. We are trying to meet the ministry official to urge him to hasten the recruitment process as the present V-C, despite his term almost ending, is continuing to take important decisions including those concerning the teacher recruitment process,” said Moushumi Basu, secretary, JNUTA.
The JNU administration, under Kumar’s leadership, had remained at loggerheads with the teachers over the alleged irregularities in the appointment process of faculty members.
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