As students and alumni of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, we express our serious disappointment and discontent over the deteriorating condition of our alma mater. A recent series of events have shattered our hopes of seeing the university maintain its name and reputation, let alone progress. The values of truth and judgment seem to be losing their importance and centralization of power is giving rise to regressive circumstances.
We are particularly alarmed and agitated at a very recent news paper article (Feb 2013) about the tainted Dean of University School of Law and Legal Studies, Professor Suman Gupta’s vengeful complaint of verbal sexual harassment against four faculty members, Dr. N. Raghuram, Dr. Ashutosh Mohan, Mr. Anuj Vaksha and Mr. Rakesh Kumar. They are all members of IP University Teachers' Association (IPUTA) and were apparently nowhere near her on the day and time when they have been alleged to have harassed her. Two of them were not even on the campus. Needless to say, they all have a very good reputation not only in the university but also in their peer groups outside. But Prof. Suman Gupta is simply attempting to get back at them, as they have exposed her act of blatant plagiarism. In their scrutiny of three of her published articles, all three were found to be plagiarized, clearly indicating her lack of value and respect towards ethics in education. Also, there are twenty-two charges of administrative and financial misconducts leveled on her by thirteen out of the sixteen law faculty members, who have also demanded her replacement as Dean. She is currently facing two enquiry committees based on the above complaints and hence cries ‘sex abuse’. The laws are made for the protection of innocent and punishment of guilty but unfortunately in this case, the knowledge of law is being misused by the guilty to harass the innocent with false allegations.
We are particularly shocked that the VC has been a mute spectator to such steep fall of the standard of dissent and public image of the university. Could he be complicit in it? Otherwise, why would he allow Prof. Suman Gupta to continue as a professor and Dean beyond 62 years despite her tainted record?
The untimely demise of Dr. T.N. Arora (Feb 2013), Associate Professor, USLLS, filled our hearts with not only sorrow but also contempt against the university administration that ensured that he was kept under suspension till death. He spent the last four years of his life fighting for justice. He was suspended on frivolous charges in 2008 and the enquiry was ordered only in 2010. He was eventually cleared of most of the charges, but instead of reinstating him, the university asked for his academic performance record during the period of suspension, obviously to be used as an excuse for forcing retirement on him at the age of 62. What’s worse, the VC is said to have blatantly lied in the condolence meeting that Dr, Arora was reinstated. This naturally begs the question, what was so wrong with Dr. Arora that he was kept out of the university till death and what is so right about Prof. Suman Gupta that she is being pampered?
There is also the plagiarism case of Prof. Saroj Sharma, Dean of School of Education, in which the enquiry is moving at snail’s pace. But she (just as Prof. Suman Gupta) continues to represent the university in higher decision making bodies, including the Proctorial Board, University Court etc.
Even students have been victims of the complete deterioration in the university administration. In Dec 2012, Prof. Suman Gupta tried to blackmail 70 students with a detention list citing low attendance just before end-semester examinations and tried to pit them against her faculty members. It backfired when students went on strike and she had to withdraw that list.
Earlier this month, when the law students again notified the VC with a hunger strike if the university did not implement all the guidelines of the Bar Council of India (which the university should have done on its own), he used the Proctorial board to suspend one of the student activists (Ashish Bhardwaj) in the hope of pre-empting the hunger strike. But it backfired again, as the hunger strike went on for over 2 days with the support of a growing mass of students and desperate attempts by the university to evict students through police action did not work. Eventually, the university had to revoke suspension of Ashish Bhardwaj and set up a committee to ensure implementation of the Bar Council guidelines based on which the students lifted their hunger strike.
There were instances in 2012 when students had to write exams on staircases, in parking lots, basements etc., despite being a sprawling new campus at Dwarka. The unplanned expansion of courses and intake in affiliated colleges (including introduction of double shifts in colleges for the first time) has led to a situation in which the seats for some of the courses are not even filled while for others, the number of applications received has fallen drastically. Some of those courses were apparently started in total violations of the procedures and guidelines such as faculty, books, infrastructure etc. The Telegraph has reported a few months ago that over the last 3 years, the number of vacant (unclaimed seats) grew from 1000 to 3000. What it did not report is that they include BBA, the subject area of the VC himself and in B.Ed., the subject area of the tainted Dean, Saroj Sharma!
All this would not have been possible without the extreme centralization of power and subversion of the highest decision making bodies of the university. Large scale manipulation of loyalties through faculty appointments, Deanships and Directorships has had a cascading impact on students as well as teachers over the years. Manipulation of the students’ council elections made a mockery of the Lyngdoh committee recommendations, according to which it is compulsory to have a fully elected and truly representative student union in every university. It is also perfectly normal for any self-respecting university to have an elected teachers association, but our university has not only avoided recognizing the IPU Teachers Association formed 4 years ago, but also never allowed any other official mechanism for collective representation of teachers till date. All this has reduced the entire university to a banana republic, which is not at all acceptable in today’s era of stakeholders, transparency and public accountability.
As alumni, we cannot bear to see such a decline in the standard of our university that has demonstrated its potential very early to carve a respectable niche for itself, being the first state university in the midst of so many central govt universities/institutions. We will stand united to stem the rot and press for reform in GGSIP University, as a model for all other educational institutions under Delhi Government, on the following lines:
1. Curtail the decision-making powers of the VC, pending a comprehensive time-bound enquiry into all complaints of students/teachers/staff against the university functioning.
2. Action against tainted Deans and other higher functionaries of the university.
3. Rigorous enquiry and action against all manipulated appointments of teachers/staff
4. Terminate all temporary/contractual appointments beyond the statutory limit of 6 months.
5. There should be an independent, fully elected students’ union as well as elected student representation in all the decision making bodies at the School and University level, such as Finance Committee, Academic Council, Board of Management, University Court etc.
6. There should also be an officially recognized and independently elected Teachers’ Association, as well as representation of elected teachers in all decision-making bodies at the School and University level, including Boards of Studies, Academic Council Finance committee, Board of Management, and the University court.
7. The VC should not be allowed to nominate any members in any of the decision making bodies of which he is the Chairman, to prevent conflict of interest and power monopoly
8. The VC should not be the chairman of the Board of Management and Finance committee in the interest of transparency and accountability. The chair should be elected by the members, which will include members nominated by the VC/Chancellor/government.
9. Rigorous implementation of quality standards in college affiliation. The same standards should also be applied to every course/school/centre in the University campus itself.
10. A Vidya-Lok-Pal for all educational institutions under Delhi government and/or bringing them under the ambit of the Delhi Lok Pal.
We hope to play a more enduring role in the future functioning of the university, not only alumni with a sentiment towards our alma mater, but also stakeholders and consumers who paid massive fees to make this university self-financing.
GuruGobind Singh Alums
This petition closed about 2 years ago