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The Hindu spreads fake news on JNU’s review of Professor Emeritus, changes date of meeting from 2018 to 2019

Most other media houses have mentioned that the rules were amended last year, but still, The Hindu chose to spread fake news.

As the left-liberal ecosystem continues its outrage over the review of Romila Thapar’s continuation as Professor Emeritus by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), The Hindu resorted to blatant lie to claim that rules were changed recently to target the historian. In a report published yesterday, the publication wrote that the decision to review the continuation of emeritus professors who are above 75 years of age was taken in a meeting held in last month, which is not correct.

The report said that in the meeting held on 23rd August, the Executive Council had decided to revise the guidelines for emeritus professor designation. As the Hindu deliberately omitted the year, it implies that the meeting took place on 23rd August 2019, less than two weeks ago. The report suggested that the rules were amended very recently. This report was further used by many people on social media to propagate a lie.

It is a lie because the said meeting took place on 23rd August 2018, ie, one year ago, and not last month as The Hindu is reporting. The provision for review of emeritus professors is mentioned in the Academic Rules and Regulations of the university, which was updated on 31st March 2019.

A document published on 31st March 2019 can’t contain a provision if it was not finalised by that date, therefore it is not possible that the said amendment was done in August this year, it was done before March 2019.

Now if we go to the page containing the rules and regulations regarding the conferment of ‘Professor Emeritus’ title at JNU on page number 58, we can see that the footnote on the page says “approved vide Resolution No. 6.10/EC/23.08.2018”, which means the amendments to the provisions were made on 23rd August 2018, not 2019 as The Hindu and many others are claiming.

In the 275th meeting of the Executive Council held on 23 August 2018, the EC had amended the rules governing the Professor Emeritus title. It was decided that once such a professor attains seventy-five years of age, their continuation will be reviewed by considering their health status, willingness, availability, needs of the university etc. For this purpose, the EC will appoint a sub-committee for each existing Professor Emeritus above the age of 75 years, which will examine each case as it deems fit, including by interaction, inviting latest CV, peer group views etc. This decision was taken so that more positions can be made available for other potential candidates.

It is important to note that the decision was taken in a meeting of the Executive Council of JNU, which consists of 23 members. Apart from the Vice-Chancellor and the Rector of the university, the EC includes deans of difference studies, teachers at JNU and members from outside the JNU who are all academicians at various educational institutions. It was not a unilateral decision taken by one person or by the union government, it was a decision unanimously taken by the Executive Council of the Jawaharlal Nehru.

It may be noted that most other media houses have mentioned that the rules were amended last year, but still, The Hindu chose to spread fake news. The news reports also mention that the registrar of JNU had written to Romila Thapar in July this year, asking her to submit her CV as per new regulations. Thapar had admitted to receiving the letter in July, but The Hindu wants people to believe that the rules were changed in August 2019.

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