The Jawaharlal Nehru University has strongly refuted the allegations of motivated targeting in its decision to review the continuation of Romila Thapar as a Professor Emeritus at the University. The University registrar issued a press release today clarifying the circumstances under which the decision was taken.
The JNU has reiterated that the decision was taken as per revised rules which were decided by the Executive Council in a meeting held on 23rd August last year. It also informs that 17 Emeritus Professors above the age of 75 years are being reviewed as per new rules, not just Romila Thapar as most media reports are trying to project. The Executive Council is the highest statutory body if the university consisting of Deans, Chairpersons, and renowned academicians from outside the JNU.
The statement also gave the reason why the decision was taken. It says that the EC had decided to regulate the process of appointments and continuation of positions of Emeritus Professors in the university. The goal of the same was to make the process broad-based, time-bound and rule-based selection, so that Emeritus Professors as appointed from various disciplines and schools in the university. The Statement notes among the cure 21 Emeritus Professors in JNU, as many as 17 as Social Sciences and Humanities, while only 4 are from Science streams, leading to a huge imbalance. As there was no age limit on the positions, many deserving retired faculty members could not be appointed as Emeritus Professors.
To resolve this issue, the EC had decided to review the work done by the existing Emeritus Professors above 75 years of age. The statement adds that ‘Since everyone is equal before the law, letters were sent to all 12 emeritus professors who have attained the age of 75 to know their availability and willingness to participate in academic activities of the University”.
JNU says that a motivated campaign was launched using the name of one Emeritus Professor, while the same letter has been sent to 12 such persons. It adds that no single emeritus professor has been targeted as alleged in media reports, and the University is only implementing a rule of the University.
The statement makes it clear that Emeritus Professors are supposed to contribute to the academic activities of the university, it is not just an honorary title like many people were suggesting.