Protection of UGC norms and reservation policy in faculty recruitment

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This petition is filed by the Dalit-Bahujan scholars in Hyderabad against the ill-motivated and devious attempt to sabotage UGC norms in faculty recruitment and promotion at the Dept. of Communication, S. N. School, University of Hyderabad.

A hurriedly constituted four member expert committee comprising only ‘upper’ caste faculty members from few elitist media institutions have made recommendations which may affect the quality and social justice framework of media education in the country. The Vice Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad Prof. Ramakrishna Ramasamy has signed and forwarded the “expert” recommendations - that tacitly fiddles with the existing policies governing the recruitment and promotion of faculty in the Department of Communication, S.N. school - to the UGC. These suggestions, when passed by the UGC and if implemented, would allow any person - with the “right” links and in “good” terms with the powers that be – enable entry into the academia even without a post-graduate degree. This violates the fundamental agenda of higher education itself! Why MA, MPhil and PhD? Why University of Hyderabad, then?

This dubious act illicitly flouts UGC norms and regulations; but apparently legitimates an unequivocal promotion of casteist nepotism. It criminally inflicts a Brahminical scourge - which amount to illegality - against social justice with regard to affirmative policy and law of the land. This, we believe, is a conspiracy by an “upper” caste lobby that refutes autonomous entry and progress of the subordinated communities (SC/ST/OBC/Minority groups) in publicly-funded institutional spaces.

The proposed recommendations that may affect the quality of communication/journalism education include;

1) Gross violation of UGC norms in recommending the removal of minimum qualification in faculty appointments. As per the proposed guideline any one without even Masters Degree in Communication with some professional experience can apply for the post of Assistant Professor. The same has been suggested for career advancement. This may deprive the MA/PhD scholars in communication discipline from getting jobs as Assistant Professors and Associate Professors. Besides no expert committee at the University level has got the power to suggest amendments to basic eligibility criteria set up by UGC.
2) Getting rid of research credentials. As per UGC norms, PhD is compulsory for the appointment of Associate Professor and Professor. This has been completely altered and set aside in order to cater to the vested interests of some.
3) Double exclusion of SC/ST students in Communication and Journalism. The exclusionary nature of Indian media towards SC/ST media students will be harnessed with the new form of exclusion by blocking their entry through subverting UGC’s recruitment norms in favour of the “upper” caste lobby. This in principle is against social justice in higher education which the Indian government is striving hard to achieve.
4) Besides, these recommendations have not been discussed at the departmental level and therefore violate procedural norms of the University.

It should be noted that the committee, which suggested these anti-student, anti-SC/ST/OBC/Minority norms comprise of only “upper” caste faculty members from University of Hyderabad, TISS and a Hyderabad based private film institute. The S. N. School of Arts and Communication has not filled the reservation posts for long; the Media and Cultural Study centre of TISS does not have a SC/ST/OBC/Minority faculty member. And it is the same lobby, which now attempts to sabotage UGC norms.

We as research scholars in communication and journalism condemn the sneaky, illegal actions of “upper” caste lobby to sabotage UGC norms in faculty recruitment and career advancement.

We request the UGC Chairman to take cognizance of these devious acts as these may affect the future of the discipline and the university by setting dangerous precedents. We also request you to ensure the strict implementation of UGC norms and reservation policy in faculty recruitment and promotions.

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