Presidency students brief the VC on the outcome of the referendum. Picture by Anup Bhattacharya
Presidency University vice-chancellor Malabika Sarkar made it clear on Monday that if Sugata Bose stepped down as chief mentor, it would be “detrimental” to the institution.
This, after Presidency students on Monday apprised her of the outcome of the referendum calling for Harvard professor Bose’s resignation from the mentor group following his nomination as a Trinamul candidate for the Lok Sabha.
Sarkar later said she lacked the authority to decide on whether Bose could remain a mentor. “But I can say that if Bose steps down, it will be detrimental to the institute as he has the leadership quality and takes a lot of responsibilities,” she said.
The VC also pointed out that the mentor group is an advisory body and does not have any say in the running of the institute.
“In central universities, the Prime Minister, being the chancellor, is the decision-making authority. But the mentor group restricts itself to giving advice,” said Sarkar.
The students argued that the mentor group has been part of the council, the university’s highest decision-making body, since the Presidency University Amendment Act, 2013, came into force.
“The council now comprises the entire mentor group. So the party’s infiltration into the university administration is inevitable if Bose does not resign,” said a union member.
The students also faxed the referendum results to governor M.K. Narayanan, the chancellor of the university, and sought an appointment to explain to him why they are seeking Bose’s resignation.
Of the 1,541 students who participated in the referendum organised by the students union and held on the campus last Wednesday and Thursday, 1,208 voted for Bose’s resignation.
“We met the vice-chancellor and apprised her of the popular mood on the campus. The majority of the students are against Bose remaining in the mentor group and the governing council of the university,” said Sumallya Mukhopadhyay, a leader of the Independents’ Consolidation, which runs the students’ union.
Trinamul student leader Shanku Deb Panda met chief electoral officer Sunil Gupta on Saturday and demanded that registrar Prabir Dasgupta be taken to task for the referendum, which he said had been held in violation of the model code of conduct.
nComplaint: A section of students on Monday said they were planning to approach the poll panel against the Trinamul Sikshabandhu Samity, a union of non-teaching employees, for putting up posters on the campus in favour of Bose and two other Trinamul Lok Sabha candidates, Sudip Bandopadhyay and Saugata Roy. The model code prohibits political campaigning at educational institutions, they said.