Academics seek action against Rahul Gandhi for comments on appointment of VCs | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Academics seek action against Rahul Gandhi for comments on appointment of VCs

May 06, 2024 10:43 AM IST

Rahul Gandhi has maintained VCs were not appointed on merit but for their affiliation to ruling BJP’s ideological fount, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh

As many as 181 academics, including former and current heads of universities, have sought action against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for his claim that the appointment of vice chancellors (VCs) was made solely based on affiliation with an organisation rather than on merit.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. (ANI)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. (ANI)

In an open letter titled “torchbearers being torched”, the academics said Gandhi has questioned the merit of the process through which VCs are appointed. “We categorically and unequivocally discard such claims,” the academics said. They accused Gandhi of resorting to “falsehood and defaming” VCs “to derive the political mileage”.

The signatories, including Jawaharlal Nehru University VC Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit, her Delhi University counterpart Yogesh Singh, Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Raipur director Ram Kumar Kakani, argued the process of selecting VC is a stringent, transparent rigorous procedure grounded on values of meritocracy, scholarly distinction, and integrity.

Gandhi has maintained VCs were not appointed on merit but for their affiliation to ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s ideological fount, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The academics underlined the selection has been based on academic and administrative prowess and with a vision to take universities ahead. “The array of academic disciplines and professional experiences represented amongst us stands as evidence of the unbiased and inclusive nature of the selection procedure. It reflects our dedication to cultivating an atmosphere that values and promotes diversity, encourages independent thinking, and supports scholastic achievement,” the letter said.

“In our capacity as guardians of knowledge and administrators of academia, we maintain an unwavering commitment to maintaining the utmost levels of governance integrity, ethical behaviour, and institutional integrity.”

The academics said they encourage productive discourse and active participation from all relevant stakeholders, as they collaboratively strive to define the trajectory of higher education. “We strongly urge all individuals involved to exercise discernment in distinguishing fact from fiction, to abstain from spreading unfounded rumours, and to participate in dialogue that is well-informed, constructive, and supportive of our shared goal of creating a dynamic and inclusive educational environment,” the letter said. “We would like to reaffirm our steadfast dedication to the principles of meritocracy, integrity, and excellence within the realm of higher education. As a collective initiative, let us persistently strive to maximize the impact of our educational establishments as catalysts for societal change and facilitators of advancement.”

The academics said universities in India have undergone a significant transition. They cited the ascent in the global rankings, prominent accreditations, world-class research and innovations, curriculum facelift narrowing the industry-academia gap, and higher placement prospects reaffirming their commitment to academic quality and societal relevance. “With utmost conviction, the Vice Chancellors of prestigious Universities nationwide and Academic Leaders, address and refute the baseless allegations that have recently been circulated concerning the selection process.”

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