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Stage set for Presi change of guard

- Move to kickstart search for full-term VC

The Presidency council held its last meeting on Sunday, signalling the end of its transition to a university and paving the way for the formation of the governing board and the appointment of the first full-term vice-chancellor.

Government sources said the governing board could assume charge on Monday. A government order announcing the search committee is likely to coincide with the governing board taking charge. Interim VC Malabika Sarkar’s extended term ends on February 15.

The governing board will be Presidency’s lone — and lean — decision-making body, a feature that distinguishes the College Street campus from other state-aided universities which have two such panels comprising a large number of members.

Presidency officials said all the mentors would be part of the 27-member governing board, which would also have distinguished alumni, teachers and special invitees (including a student representative) as members. “While Presidency has been a university for three years, the formation of the governing board and the search panel for the first full-term VC will mark the end of its transition from a college,” said an official.

“Of the three members of the search committee, one has to be the governing board’s nominee. Hence, the order related to the setting up of the committee will have to wait till the governing board takes charge,” said an official in the higher education department.

The other two members of the search panel will be nominees of governor M.K. Narayanan, also chancellor of the university, and the government.

The Presidency University Act, which came into force when the Left Front was in power in 2010, had laid down the provision for the council as the institution’s interim decision-making body, to be replaced by the court and the executive council.

The Mamata Banerjee government got the act amended in 2013, replacing the court and the executive council by the governing board.

The move, recommended by the mentor group, was aimed at speeding up decision-making at the university, which chief minister Mamata Banerjee wants to evolve as a centre of excellence.

“The council had proposed January 20 as the date for the constitution of the governing board. The date was chosen because it was the foundation day of the erstwhile Presidency College and the search panel has to be constituted before Sarkar’s term ends,” said a university official.

“Sunday’s council meeting decided to appoint 47 non-teaching employees,” said vice-chancellor Sarkar. Among the appointees is Pappu Singh, the Presidency guard who had been transferred to a Jhargram college allegedly because he had identified people with Trinamul flags who had ransacked the campus last April.

The council also approved an endowment of $40,000 for a visiting professor in industrial economics and Rs 1.05 crore for a Chair in history. Presidency alumnus Pashupati Sandhuka has funded the economics post and the Luxmi Charitable Trust, the history Chair.

Baker Building

The university last week issued a work order for the repairs of Baker Building, where concrete chunks falling from the ceiling injured two students last month. The repairs will cost Rs 1.5 crore.