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Thapar among 12 emeritus professors asked to submit CVs: JNU admin

PTI     September 2, 2019

(Eds: Adding quotes of a professor) New Delhi, Sep 2 (PTI) Former JNU vice-chancellor Asis Datta, noted scientist R Rajaraman and historian Romila Thapar are among 12 emeritus professors whose CVs have been sought by Jawaharlal Nehru University administration for a review of their work. The professor emeritus is an honorary position given to noted faculty members after their retirement. The emeritus professors are free to do academic work in the departments they are attached to and may supervise research scholars as a core supervisor along with regular faculty members. The JNU administration's decision to ask Thapar to submit her CV for assessment for her continuation as professor emerita had drawn sharp criticism from various quarters. However, the JNU registrar on Monday said that there are 11 others who have also been asked to submit their CVs. The HRD Ministry on Monday clarified that there was no move by JNU to discontinue anyone's professor emeritus status and only the standard procedures were being followed. "Professors H S Gill, C K Varshney, SD Muni, Ashok Sanjay Guha, Asis Datta, R Rajaraman, Romila Thapar, Yogendra Singh, D Banerji, T K Oommen, Amit Bhaduri and Shiela Bhalla have been sent letters by the varsity administration. They attained the age of 75 before March 31, 2019," JNU registrar Pramod Kumar told PTI. He said some of them have already sent their replies, including Thapar. Those who have not sent their replies, will be sent reminders and after their replies are received, a committee will review their CVs. Kumar said that even internationally, the professor emeritus position is not a permanent position. "...the decision (to ask for their CVs) was taken by the university's Executive Council," he said. Former JNU VC Datta is an eminent molecular biologist and educationist who was conferred the Padma Shri in 1999 and the Padma Bhushan, the country's third-highest civilian award, in 2008. He is a recipient of the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize and the Priyadarshini Award. Datta is an elected fellow of all three major Indian Science Academies as well as the "Third World Academy of Sciences". He was the eighth vice-chancellor of the varsity and the founder director of the National Institute of Plant Genome Research. Professor Rajaraman did his PhD under Nobel laureate Hans Bethe, who had won Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967 for his work on the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis. One of the 12 professors, who was sent a letter, said receiving it was a "surprise". "I received the letter around a month ago and it was a surprise but I replied to it. The letter came as a surprise because when I was given the position, the letter handed over to me by the then vice-chancellor said it is a lifelong position," the professor, requesting anonymity, told PTI. He also said, "I didn't accept posts at other places because I held the post here. It is a honorary post and there are no monetary benefits attached." The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers' Association (JNUTA) had said on Sunday that the JNU administration's decision to ask 87-year-old Thapar to submit her CV was "politically motivated". Congress leader Shashi Tharoor had also criticised the move. Soon after the JNUTA statement, the university said it was following its ordinance "in letter and spirit" in the appointment of professor emeritus at JNU. "As per the ordinance, the university is required to write to all those who have attained the age of 75 years to know their availability and willingness to continue their association with the university. Letters have been written only to those emeritus professors who fall in this category," it said. It explained that these letters were written, not for discontinuance, but for an informed review by the Executive Council, the highest statutory body of the university, and it is consistent with the practices at other reputed universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Princeton University. PTI SLB BUN AAR

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