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Presi mentors in perpetuity

Presidency University will permanently have a mentor group.

The Presidency University (Amendment) Bill, 2013, which the Assembly passed on Friday, grants the status of a permanent advisory body to the mentor group, set up to steer the College Street institution’s transformation into a world-class centre.

The bill, which awaits the governor’s assent, states that the number of mentor group members should not be more than nine or less than seven. As is the practice now, the group will convey its recommendations to the state government.

“…the state government may in its discretion issue direction upon the governing board for its implementation,” states the bill, which amends the Presidency University Act, 2010.

The government will appoint the members in consultation with the governor, also chancellor of the university, and decide on the tenure of the body.

On the lines of the recommendation of the existing mentor group, led by Harvard professor Sugata Bose, the bill states that Presidency will be governed by one panel, unlike other state universities that have two such bodies.

The 2010 act, framed by the erstwhile Left Front government, provided for two decision-making bodies of Presidency — a council and a court. The act never came into effect and as an interim measure, the university is run by a council.

The amendment changes the name of the council to governing body and limits the number of its members to 27, almost half that of similar bodies in other universities, such as senate in Calcutta University. “A lone and lean governing body will prevent undue delay in decision making and implementation,” said an official in the higher education department.

A streamlined decision-making process that seeks the help of “distinguished alumni” — the governing body will have at least two alumni — is the brainchild of the mentor group, which has submitted a number of recommendations aimed at transforming the university into a world-class institution by 2017.

The bill has a provision for a fund to enable the university to accept donations, subscriptions and grants and a clause for creating 15 posts of “heritage professor” and five posts of “distinguished professor”.