Jadavpur University teachers speak out against harassment
Teachers at Jadavpur University have said they are noting with “dismay and concern” the harassment and humiliation a section of teachers has faced at the hands of some students.
The Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association (Juta) has issued a statement, blaming the students for the resignation of two deans of science over the past couple of months.
The statement, issued two days after acting dean of science Subir Mukhopadhyay resigned, says: “Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association (Juta) notes with dismay and concern the tendency in recent times for a section of students to harass, humiliate, and insult teachers of the university, on issues having to do with academic matters. This has already led to two officiating Deans of the science faculty tendering their resignations in the last couple of months. In both cases, the unwarranted interference of the students, and their insistence that their demands be met, irrespective of academic merit of their demands, and the language that the students leaders have used is nothing short of shocking.”
Mukhopadhyay took over as acting dean after Kalyan Kumar Das had resigned in early October after an allegedly “derogatory” letter about him was sent to vice-chancellor Suranjan Das by office-bearers of the science faculty students’ union.
Union leaders allegedly misbehaved with him over why only the final-year undergraduate end- semester students were being tested and not the ones in the intermediate semesters.
The Telegraph had Wednesday reported that Mukhopadhyay resigned following what sources close to him said was “pressure” from the students’ union to accommodate all undergraduate students in the postgraduate courses.
In both cases, the deans were allegedly verbally abused.
Mukhopadhyay, in his resignation letter to the VC, has mentioned the dates when he had been allegedly humiliated by office-bearers of the students’ union.
Parthapratim Roy, the general secretary of the teachers’ association, said: “The students are demanding that the decisions taken at the meeting of the admission committee or that of the faculty council would have to be reversed. Only the executive council, the highest decision making body of JU, has the authority to ask the statutory bodies to revisit their decisions. They (the students) don’t know where to draw a line.”
The latest confrontation between the students’ union and the dean started after the union apparently demanded that all students graduating in science from JU be offered seats in MSc courses, disregarding the fact that 20 per cent of the seats have been reserved for candidates from other universities by a government order.
A teacher said the union was insisting that all internal students be accommodated in the day courses at the master’s level. There are the same number of seats in the evening programmes as the day courses, but JU students are reluctant to join the evening courses, which drag on for three years, compared with the two-year day courses.
“If we are forced to accommodate all of them, we would have to create additional seats and ask students from other universities to opt for evening courses. How can this be allowed?” the teacher said.
A JU official said there were more MSc aspirants this year because students were reluctant to move to other states for a master’s course because of the Covid pandemic. “Another reason for the spike in the number of aspirants is lenient evaluation,” the official said.
The Juta statement reads: “It is likely if such actions by the students are allowed to go unchecked by the university administration, then no teacher of the university will be willing to take administrative duties (which they have been discharging despite considerable personal difficulties in this unprecedented pandemic situation) in future. None but the students will be responsible if this comes to pass….”
Vice-chancellor Das could not be contacted as he was busy attending a webinar.