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JNU teachers’ association demands apology as JNU administration seeks Romila Thapar’s CV

JNUTA called University’s move a ‘deliberate attempt to try and dishonour those who have been critical of the current administration.’

PTI | New Delhi |

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association on Sunday called  out the university administration’s “politically motivated” decision to ask historian Romila Thapar to submit her CV for assessment for continuation as professor emerita.

JNUTA called it a “deliberate attempt to try and dishonour those who have been critical of the current administration.” It demanded a formal retraction of the move and said a personal apology be issued to her.

In a statement, the association “expressed its outrage” at the efforts by the administration to “denigrate the teaching and learning traditions of JNU via its tasteless communications” to Romila Thapar. It accused the association of having an “agenda” to destroy the legacy of  the university.

“The insult to Prof. Romila Thapar is just another politically motivated step in this regard, motivated no doubt by the active and steadfast support and inspiration she has provided to the teachers and students of JNU in their fight to keep the university in line with the vision and ideals embedded into its foundations,” JNUTA said.

Romila Thapar, and every other professor emeritus/emerita of JNU, have been nominated to this honorary position for life for their immense contribution to their disciplines and to the building of JNU as an institution, the statement said.

In July, the varsity’s registrar wrote to Romila Thapar and asked her to submit her CV, so that they can evaluate whether she should continue as professor emerita.

The registrar’s communication to Romila Thapar stems from a resolution of JNU’s Executive Council on August 23, 2018, which revised the guidelines for designation as an emeritus professor.

“Once appointed, E.C, as an appointing authority, will review the continuation or otherwise for each existing emeritus professor after attainment of her/his age of 75 years by considering her/his health status, willingness, availability, university needs etc. so that more positions will be available to other potential candidates,” according to the new guidelines.

For this, EC will appoint a sub-committee for each existing professor emeritus above the age of 75, which will examine each case as it deems fit, including by interaction, inviting latest CV, peer group views etc.

The recommendation of this committee will be considered by E.C. for its decision, the new guidelines state.

Romila Thapar was designated professor emerita in 1993, a full 25 years before this “misplaced guideline was formulated”, JNUTA said.

“Any retrospective application of this guideline to her is simply illegal, but the very formulation of this guideline by the EC is a clear indication of how bereft it is of an understanding of the academic and intellectual life of a university,” it said.