New Delhi, October 5: Jawaharlal Nehru University's Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar was accused by seven emeritus professors over breaching conventions and ignoring objections of the faculty over the decisions taken by him.
The professors - Romila Thapar, Prabhat Patnaik, Zoya Hasan, Utsa Patnaik, H S Gill, Deepak Nayyar and Anil Bhatti - in a statement said that the decisions taken by Kumar were contradictory to the "established procedures".
"This is not the way JNU has functioned in the past, when the VCs' decisions pertaining to schools and centres followed established procedures and had the support of faculty," they said.
"In the past the conventions have not only protected academic quality, but also ensured academic autonomy in its functioning," they said, adding that Kumar ignored objections from the faculty.
The vice chancellor was accused of breaching convention by appointing a professor as the dean of the School of Social Sciences by superseding five seniors.
"No VC has in the past repeatedly gone against procedures of functioning. This is far too arbitrary an action to be passed over lightly," the statement read. It said that this was one among several arbitrary actions taken over the past two years.
The case of Prof Nivedita Menon, who was removed from the chairpersonship of the Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory recently for alleged misbehaviour, was also mentioned in the statement.
On October 3, two leading academics in a letter sought President Ram Nath Kovind's intervention in restoring the "atmosphere of healthy debate in JNU".
The letter was accompanied by a petition signed by 1,800 academics from globally-reputed universities such as the Harvard and the Columbia, artistes and lawyers among others.
The previous and the present office-bearers of the JNU Students Union and JNU Teachers Association have been protesting against the VC for breaching conventions on several matters.