regular-article-logo Thursday, 05 October 2023

Teacher associations urge South Asian University to revoke suspension of four teachers

The academics have allegedly incited students involved in a protest for higher stipends, according to the institution

Pheroze L. Vincent New Delhi Published 22.06.23, 05:35 AM
South Asian University

South Asian University File picture

The Federation of Central University Teachers’ Associations and the Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association on Wednesday spoke out in support of four teachers of South Asian University who have been suspended for allegedly inciting students involved in a protest for higher stipends.

South Asian University (SAU) is sponsored by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc). SAU doesn’t have a recognised students’ or teachers’ union and the top three administrative posts are currently vacant and held by officials with temporary charge.


The Federation of Central University Teachers’ Associations (Fedcuta) asked SAU in a statement “to unconditionally roll back all these illegal moves. Or else, the democratic movement of teachers from all over the country will use all constitutional means to attain justice.”

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) said in a statement: “The suspension notice issued to the faculty by the SAU administration on 16.06.2023 came after a spate of humiliation of the four faculty members by the fact-finding committee (FFC) that on May 19, 2023, asked them to provide handwritten answers to over a hundred questions sitting in front of the committee members. The faculty raised objections to this process and wrote to the FFC and the SAU administration, but they received no reply.

“On the contrary, they were served with suspension orders that justified it by accusing the faculty of ‘inciting and leading students and outsiders’, and ‘anti-social acts’, among other things, without following due process of investigation.”

The association added: “The JNUTA strongly condemns this unprecedented harassment, coercion and intimidation of the SAU faculty by the administration…. The suspension order served to four faculty members by the SAU administration is an attempt to intimidate and silence the faculty and the students who raise their voice against the arbitrary and authoritarian actions of the administration.”

In response to an email from this newspaper seeking comment on the condemnation, SAU’s public relations officer A. Prahlad said: “Since there are allegations of misconduct against four faculty members, they have been placed under suspension in terms of the SAARC Intergovernmental Agreement, Rules, Regulations and/or Bye Laws, including the Intergovernmental Regulation 17.8 on Professional Code of Conduct and the Bye Laws on Professional Code of Conduct for Faculty Members.”

The four suspended academics, who did not wish to be named, are seeking legal remedy, one of them told The Telegraph.

Students have been protesting since October 2020 to seek an increase in the stipend for master’s students from Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000 a month and the support for PhD students from Rs 25,000 to Rs 31,500 a month, on a par with the Junior Research Fellowship.

The students have also asked for representation in the forums to deal with sexual harassment. These demands have not been met.

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