Governor out of JU convocation
The convocation of Jadavpur University will be held without the chancellor on December 24.
The decision was taken in view of the students’ decision “to boycott the chancellor if he is present in the convocation programme”, a resolution adopted in the university’s executive council meeting stated on Saturday.
An emergency meeting of the executive council was convened on Saturday barely three days before the convocation.
The text of the resolution adopted in the presence of vice-chancellor Suranjan Das read: “In view of the representation received before the executive council in its meeting on December 21 from the students organizations of the university as well as press reports concerning the boycott by the students of the honorable chancellor if he is present in the convocation programme on December 24 and in view of the consequent need to avoid any untoward incident on the campus, the council resolves:
1) The (special) convocation programme of December 24, 2019, as decided earlier, be deferred.
2) The executive council recommends that a meeting of the University Court be held in accordance with the gazette notification no. 404-/OM-143L/2019 of 09.12.2019 to discuss the modus operandi of conferring only academic degrees to the students on December 24 in terms of the relevant sections of the JU Act 1981 and amended thereafter.
3) The above resolutions be communicated to the principal secretary to the higher education department in accordance with the gazette notification No.404-/OM-143L/2019 of 09.12.2019”.
Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, the chancellor JU, held a news conference in the evening and said the executive council did not have the authority to take such a decision without his consent. “The vice-chancellor has acted under pressure,” he said.
He added that the situation was akin to an “emergency in education”.
“ …all student organisations, except those from the BJP, submitted representations, stating that they would boycott the chancellor if he was present during the convocation. This created a prospect of untoward incident during the convocation. So we had to defer the convocation. Still we are exploring the possibility of holding the annual convocation,” said vice-chancellor Suranjan Das.
Aveek Das, general secretary of engineering faculty students’ union known as FETSU, said: “We have decided to boycott the chancellor on the day of convocation. He has been acting in a partisan manner.”
This is the second time in a gap of eight days that a state university had deferred it’s convocation without taking the chancellor’s consent. On December 11, the state technology university had deferred its annual convocation that was scheduled for December 12.
The decisions were taken days after the higher education had introduced rules on December 9 that stated the governor’s nod will no longer be required for a state-run university to call a meeting of the senate/court or select the recipients of honorary degrees at convocations.
The rules also said all notices regarding the convocations “shall be henceforth brought to the notice of the education department”.
An official of JU said, as of now the special convocation where the chancellor confers to honorary degree stands deferred altogether and they are exploring the possibility of holding the annual convocation wherein the graduating students are awarded the degree certificates by the VC.
On the date of convocation, the special convocation is held in the first half of the day and the annual convocation is held in the second half of the day.
“We don’t want to inconvenience the graduating students and therefore are exploring the possibility of holding the annual convocation,” said a university official.
Asked why they are apprehending trouble, one of the two pro vice-chancellors, Pradip Ghosh said: “We don’t want a recurrence of what had happened at the convocation in 2014. Therefore such a resolution has been adopted”.
The special convocation is held in presence of the students at the open air theatre, he said.
Jagdeep Dhankar had gone to JU to preside over the court meeting on October 18 and approve of the university’s recommendation that poet Sankha Ghosh and former foreign secretary Salman Haider be conferred DLitt and scientist C.N.R. Rao and Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta, director Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay be accorded DSc.
“The decision on deferring the special convocation has been conveyed to these dignitaries,” said another university official.
Jadavpur University had on December 13 had sought permission from education minister Partha Chatterjee to hold the convocation on December 24 as planned.