Race begins for Madras varsity vice-chancellor's post

Notable position holders from key Tamil Nadu universities are eyeing for the position.

CHENNAI: With just a week to go for University of Madras Vice-Chancellor R. Thandavan’s term to end, lobbying for the post has picked up pace with professors, including a former vice-chancellor, joining the race for the seat.

Along with Thandavan, who was stated to be lobbying for his extension, there are a handful of professors knocking the doors of power to get the highly regarded post.

Many professors are also applying with the search panel constituted to shortlist three candidates for the said post.

The three member vice-chancellor search panel has Veda Narayanan, Governor’s nominee, as its convener. The other two members are R. Balasubramanian, director, faculty of science and humanities, SRM University, and R. Surendra Prasad, a former member of the University of Madras Syndicate. Anna University registrar S. Ganesan and Bharathiar University former vice-chancellor James Pitchai are also vying for the job.

Kalyani Mathivanan, currently serving as Madurai Kamaraj University vice-chancellor, also stands a good chance, sources added.

Sources say it is a “insiders vs outsiders” contest. A candidate from within the ranks of professors from the university would be able to better understand the nuances of administration requiring little time to adapt, while a person outside the university might take a while before delivering positive changes that the university badly needs. By this reasoning, one of the senior professors in the university might be shortlisted for the post.

Some professors say Thandavan might get another term, but the recent students’ unrest on campus and its handling attracted criticism for his administration from some quarter.

The controversies surrounding fresh appointments of 70 posts are also standing in the way. One of the professors who is in the know of the things told DC there will be a syndicate meeting on January 17 and an important decision will be taken then.

It is learnt that if the government didn’t give Thandavan a second term, in that meeting a convener committee will be formed to run the university. Meanwhile, a case is pending before the Madras high court challenging the notification relaxing UGC norms mandating applicants to complete a minimum period of 10 years as professors to be eligible to apply for VC’s post. This case’s outcome also is expected to determine Madras University VC’s appointment.

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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