The Jawaharlal Nehru University on Sunday requested the teachers' association not to hold the proposed hunger strike over the rescheduling of the academic calendar and compliance of faculty attendance.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University on Sunday requested the teachers’ association not to hold the proposed hunger strike over the rescheduling of the academic calendar and compliance of faculty attendance. In a circular issued in mid-November, the administration had said seven years in the varsity were necessary for granting sabbatical leave to a faculty member. It announced that proposals for seminar participation, conference travel, project meetings, prestigious fellowships, including those scheduled during vacations, would be allowed if teachers comply with the diktats of the university, the JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) said.
“You will be allowed to teach, conduct research and reimburse your medical bills if you fall in line and do not question the diktats of the competent authority,” the circular said, according to JNUTA. The teachers’ body gave a call for a 24-hour hunger strike from 10 am on Monday, demanding the restoration of academic and institutional functioning of the university. In an unprecedented action, the JNUTA said, a large number of teachers would be on the hunger strike and many more would sit in solidarity with those.
It accused the varsity administration of destroying the teaching and learning culture at the university. The JNUTA had submitted a memorandum of demands to the executive council members before the council’s meeting last Tuesday, but alleged that it was not discussed in the meeting. The administration, however, said Sunday such matters needed to be routed through the department concerned, following appropriate procedures.
“However. if so needed, the teacher representatives in EC have the opportunity to discuss such issues under any other item with the permission of the chair.” The varsity requested the JNUTA to send two representatives to meet the administration officials.
“The university administration firmly believes that any problem can be resolved through mutual dialogue and not by causing disruption in the functioning of the university by way of protests and strikes.” Citing an Delhi High Court order that prohibited protests at the administration block, the varsity said: “In case, the protest is undertaken by you, within 100 metres of the administrative and academic complexes, appropriate action will be taken as per the university rules and regulations.”
In a reply, the JNUTA said the administration was expressing its interest in mutual dialogue on one hand, while threatening teachers of punitive actions on the other. It said the high court ruling was for students and the adminstration did not hold any dialogue with them despite repeated requests, adding that they were ready to have a dialogue. The JNUTA demanded that the administration, in order to demonstrate its earnestness to start a dialogue, must immediately withdraw “arbitrary” circulars regarding the rescheduling of the academic calendar and compliance of faculty attendance.