Senior professors write to VC against appointment of dean

New Delhi: Four senior professors of JNU’s School of Social Sciences, who were superseded in the recent appointment of the dean, have written to the Vice Chancellor (VC) urging him to revoke the decision, which they termed as “arbitrary”.

After CP Chandrasekhar’s term ended on September 30, the Vice Chancellor appointed Prof Pradipta K Chaudhary – sixth in line of seniority – as the dean of the School of Social Sciences (SSS).

In a letter to VC M Jagadesh Kumar, the senior-most professor, Kunal Chakrabarti, and three others Rajat Datta, Jayati Ghosh and Ravi Srivastava said the decision has “surprised” and “dismayed” them as the JNU has a long-standing practice of going by seniority and rotation.

Binod Khadria, who is fifth in seniority, is on a long leave abroad.

“This appointment has meant superseding five senior professors without citing any reason. This is clearly arbitrary and and unprecedented decision that has surprised and dismayed us,” the letter said, urging the VC to cancel the decision immediately and call for a meeting.

They claimed that such decisions would give rise to fear of arbitrariness and favouritism thereby setting a dangerous precedent for future functioning of the institution.

“Since the dean is involved in Selection Committees of faculty members, it may add to concerns that admin may be trying to exert undue and partisan influence over selections,” the letter said.

The JNU registrar or the Vice Chancellor did not respond to calls or messages in the issue.

After the JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA) criticised the appointment, seven emeritus professors had accused the VC of breaching conventions and ignoring objections of the faculty in this matter.