Rabindra Bharati University (RBU) has shut its fine arts faculty “indefinitely”, in a desperate bid to stop trouble on the Jorasanko campus snowballing out of control. About 2,000 students studying painting, dance, drama and music found their classrooms off-limits on Thursday as registrar Santosh Kumar Ghorui issued a notice informing them about the “indefinite closure”. Ghorui, however, did not specify a reason for the sudden shutdown.
Sources said “temporary closure” had been ordered fearing “serious trouble” on campus, following the university’s decision not to renew contracts of some guest lecturers. Vice-chancellor Bharati Mukherjee said the contracts of about 28 teachers, whose tenure expired on April 30, had not been renewed. Those hit by this move have been on a relay hungerstrike in protest. They found support from some permanent teachers, too, on Monday.
“The University Grants Commission (UGC) has recently instructed us to slash operational costs by 10 per cent and objected to the university’s decision of recruiting so many guest lecturers on contract,” said Mukherjee.
She claimed the number of guest lecturers in the performing arts faculty was higher than any other university offering similar courses.
“There were more than 130 guest lecturers in the arts faculty till last August. We have been forced to bring this down to 86, to prevent the UGC from slashing funds to the university,” said Mukherjee. Many appointments had, allegedly, been “pushed through” by the ruling CPM.