The incumbent and interim Vice-Chancellor of North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU) is challenging the authority of the President of India, who is also the university’s Visitor, by trying to amend the institution’s statutes, representative of the NEHU Teachers Association (NEHUTA), Meghalaya Tribal Teachers Association (MTTA) and Meghalaya Confederation for Academic Welfare (MeCAW) alleged today.
The statute Prof SK Srivastava is reportedly trying to alter has to do with the expiry of the term of Vice-Chancellor. As an interim head after his full term expired in September, the VC has no authority to make statutory changes, the groups argued. The under attack VC is reportedly in favour of an earlier version of this particular statute, which Kma termed ambiguous and which was changed in favour of the new one in 2013.
Addressing the media today, MTTA President, Lakhon Kma, said that Srivastava has called for an academic council tomorrow so that he can amend the statute in order to prolong his term at NEHU. NEHUTA and MTTA have shot off a letter to the Union Ministry of Education to oppose the move of Srivastava.
“We hope that the ministry halts the academic council tomorrow,” Kma said, adding that they will also write a complaint to the Visitor to expose Srivastava’s “illegal and gross violation” of his appointment.
The groups demanded that the selection of a new NEHU VC, promised by the Centre by the New Year, be fast-tracked so that Srivastava “is defenestrated” in order to “save the university from further ruin,” Kma added.
When his term ended in September, Srivastava was kept on as interim VC for a period of one year or until his successor is chosen. The aim of changing the statute would allow him to remain in the VC’s chair beyond one year, the NEHU stakeholders fear.
“We need to ensure that NEHU gets a qualified VC with academic excellence in line with the matrilineal and cultural ethos of Meghalaya as well as in line with academic excellence so that future generations are secured and we demand immediate fast track completion of the selection of the NEHU VC so that Srivastava is defenestrated in order to save the university from further ruin,” he added.