A puerile controversy has erupted at a critical juncture. Jadavpur University, a centre of excellence and now at the threshold of being awarded the “institute of eminence” tag, has been embroiled in yet another kerfuffle within. This time it is between a section of the technological faculty and the Vice-Chancellor over an admission quota for “domiciles” , one that accords short shrift to rankings in the Joint Entrance Examination merit list. Even at the mildest estimation, this betrays parochialism on the part of the teachers, an attitude that ought to be anathema in one of the country’s finest institutions ~ as much in technology as in pure science and humanities. The campus discord recalls last year’s disruptive controversy over the criteria for undergraduate admissions in science and the humanities. If candidates from other states are making it to such disciplines as civil, chemical and construction engineering, so be it. Seventeen out of 25 seats in construction engineering were filled by candidates from outside Bengal last year. Rightly has the VC, Professor Suranjan Das, shot down the proposal on “domicile quota” with the very cogent argument that quality must be the “mainstay of a university seeking the institute of eminence” embroidery, which envisages a grant of Rs 1000 crore over five years. The faculties, notably that of mechanical engineering, have scarcely realised that domicile-based reservation denudes the importance of the entrance examination, and almost deliberately so. The demand for 85 to 90 per cent reservation for students from Bengal is preposterous, to say the least. It presupposes that meritorious candidates from other states cannot be assured of admission even if they score higher marks in the JEE, which symbolises open all-India competition. Provincialism is a new spin on the reservation policy, based on the socio-economic criteria since Independence. The argument proffered by the faculties holds no water, specifically that seats at NIT Durgapur and IIEST Sibpur were slashed after they were upgraded. “From that perspective, JU needs to fill the void with a domicile policy”. This is proceeding from conclusion to premise to buttress what must appear to be facile reasoning. If indeed Bengal has lost 75 per cent of the seats in civil engineering and 42 per cent in chemical engineering, the reason is because candidates from this state have not performed suitably in order to rank sufficiently high in the admission merit list. The perceived discrepancy between “sons of the soil” and “outsiders” cannot be addressed with a strained dose of provincialism. The argument of the faculties lacks logical force. A domicile quota might impede Jadavpur University’s attempt to be recognised by the UGC as an institute of eminence. This must be realised by the faculties that are now playing to the gallery of the domicile.