The governor (at the back, near the door) weaves his way through protesting students after Monday’s meeting. (Bishwarup Dutta)
Student protest rocked Presidency on Monday while the authorities readied the list of the first batch of teachers to join the institution since its upgrade from college to university.
The names of 16 professors were announced following a meeting of the Presidency University council, attended by governor M.K. Narayanan, also chancellor of the institute.
Three of the recruits are from universities abroad. They are Benjamin Zachariah (history), Adhar C. Manna (physiology) and Somak Raychaudhury (physics). One of the 16 professors is from IIT Kharagpur.
“They have been selected after several rounds of rigorous screening. The focus was on research and teaching credentials,” vice-chancellor Malabika Sarkar said. “The names of five more professors will be announced soon.”
The remaining 20 posts of professor are in the reserved category. “For the reserved posts, there are only two applications. So, we can’t hold an interview,” said Sarkar.
A fresh advertisement will be issued for the reserved posts. An official hinted that the authorities might approach the backward classes welfare department for converting the reserved seats into general ones if there are not enough candidates to fill them up.
Appointment to the 140 posts of associate professor and assistant professor — around 40 per cent of which are reserved — will start soon.
“The teachers of the erstwhile Presidency College will continue to teach for now,” the vice-chancellor said.
The announcement of the names of the first batch of recruits was marred by student unrest as 60-odd supporters of the Independent Consolidation picketed in front Bankim Sabhagriha, where the council members met.
The students were demanding that all Presidency graduates be given berths in its postgraduate courses and the number of seats in such courses be increased by 50 per cent.
“A world-class institute can’t guarantee postgraduate berths to all its undergraduates,” said Harvard professor Sugata Bose, the chairman of the Presidency mentor group and a member of the council. The demand, he added, flies in the face of a recent proposal of the higher education department to introduce admission tests for postgraduate courses at all state universities.
“The demand for increasing the seat count is being seriously considered,” Bose added.
Physicist Bikash Sinha, another member of the council, quipped “old habits die hard” when asked about the protest. “It’ll take time for the students to overcome the habit.”
The council also approved the appointment of three administrative officers.