Teacher organisations across political lines have come out against St Stephen’s College Principal Valson Thampu’s attempt to make sweeping changes in the college constitution. While the truncated college governing body on Tuesday approved the amendments, the final decision will be taken in a meeting of the GB after three months.
Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) president Nandita Narain from the Democratic Teachers’ Federation (DTF) said, “We deplore the attempt by the Principal of St. Stephen’s College Valson Thampu, to engineer major changes in the constitution of the college just three months before his retirement from the post. It will alter service conditions of teachers and come into conflict with the ordinances of DU, endangering the recognition of the college as a constituent college of DU. This would, in turn, jeopardise the University Grants Commission grant given to the college and threaten the future of thousands of its students and employees.”
The National Democratic Teachers’ Federation (NDTF) has also come out against the move calling it a “communal agenda”.
“NDTF is in total opposition to the move of Valson Thampu and company to make amendments in the constitution of the college not only on technical grounds – as these amendments are against university rules and regulations in the absence of required quorum – but also since we see it as an attempt to pull this college out of the DU and following a communal agenda,” said NDTF member A K Bhagi, who is also an executive council member.
The NDTF has asked the university to “immediately communicate to the college in clear terms that these amendments are illegal and therefore can’t be taken as passed or approved”. Similarly, the Congress-affiliated Academics for Action and Development (AAD) has also expressed “deep concern” about the move. “St Stephens college principal and the authorities of the Church are interfering in the internal administration of the college by trying to amend the college’s constitution. The haste with which these changes are being pushed through clearly smacks of a desperate attempt on the part of the principal – whose eligibility has been shrouded in controversy – to seek an illegitimate position in the administration of the college even after his superannuation,” said Rajesh Jha from the AAD.