The Joint Action Committee (JAC) comprising staff and students have strongly appealed to North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) Visitor, President Ram Nath Kovind, to not extend, even “by a single day” the term of outgoing Vice-Chancellor Prof SK Srivastava as this would be “immoral, unethical and unprecedented” in the history of the university.
The term of the under-fire Srivastava is set to end on Wednesday.
In a statement today, JAC Chairman and NEHU professor, Xavier P Mao, said that Srivastava has “failed in all respects” and the university has thus suffered in national rankings.
If Srivastava is an applicant for a second term at the helm of NEHU, any extension given to him would allow him to “exert undue influence on the selection of the new VC,” Mao said, adding that no VC has ever been given an extension in NEHU.
As per the university’s statutes, the senior-most professor takes over as VC on the demitting of office by the incumbent until a new VC is appointed. “Ignoring this proviso would be highly immoral unless there is an exceptional need for an extension,” he stated, adding that no exceptional grounds exist.
The JAC has, on several occasions, raised the alleged mismanagement and non-performance of Srivastava by way of peaceful protests and demonstrations. The JAC is firm on not accepting an extension to his term.
Mao pointed to two issues with the incumbent VC, namely allegations of harassment made against him by female teaching staff and the non-release of payments to a retired professor who has been kept waiting for four years.
“Srivastava’s regime has damaged the university beyond immediate repair and hence offering him an extended term would be direct encouragement of destruction of the sacred temple of learning meant for Meghalaya and the North East region,” Mao stated.