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Ashoka Univ Chancellor says founders never interfered with teachers; Board stands for intellectual independence – Times of India

NEW DELHI: In a powerful counter to the narrative constructing round causes for the exit of Professor PB Mehta, Ashoka University Chancellor Rudrangshu Mukherjee has mentioned the establishment stays dedicated to tutorial freedom and intellectual independence whereas its Board of Trustee Chairman Ashish Dhawan promised an open line of communication.

Days after Mehta, who had resigned as Vice-Chancellor of the college two years again, selected to step down as a Professor additionally, saying that the founders made it “abundantly clear” that his affiliation with the establishment was a “political liability”, Mukherjee wrote to school and college students stating the establishment’s founders have never interfered with tutorial freedom.

Dhawan in a separate letter mentioned the Board of Trustee stands for free enquiry, tutorial freedom and intellectual independence and the college is dedicated to offering an atmosphere of excellence. “I deeply regret any lapses that led to this situation – this was not something we had anticipated or planned.”

“Today, when the Founders are being attacked for trying to compromise and curtail academic autonomy and freedom of expression, I find it necessary as Chancellor and given my association with Ashoka from its inception, to state unambiguously that the Founders have never interfered with academic freedom: faculty members have been left free to construct their own courses, follow their own methods of teaching and their own methods of assessment,” Mukherjee wrote.

They, he mentioned, have additionally been left free to hold out their very own analysis and publications.

“There are only two points that the founders have insisted upon. One, that Ashoka should not compromise on intellectual standards; and two, that the Foundation Courses should be integral to Ashoka’s academic offering,” he wrote on March 20.

Dhawan within the separate two-web page letter mentioned school and college students are inspired to proceed questioning the world round them, together with the college.

“The last few days have taught us it is really important for us to build an open line of communication and also listen to you. We will make ourselves available for meetings with the Student, Government and Alumni Council on a regular basis,” he wrote.

“The Ashoka administration is entrepreneurial in spirit, and we know that you are too. We want to encourage you to express yourselves and know that we will be there to hear you and take your feedback.”

The college belongs to college students as a lot because it does to the school and the founders, he mentioned, inviting college students to make use of their voice to assist administration perceive their want.

“We hope to become a more inclusive university that continues to develop on the basis of student, faculty, and administration partnerships.”

“I admit that the departures of Professors Mehta and Subramanian make us all feel a tremendous loss but there is nothing for you to fear. As an institution, we are committed to freedom in every aspect. Even as we evolve, this commitment will never fade,” he mentioned.

Over 150 worldwide teachers have come out in assist of Mehta in an open letter that described his resignation from Ashoka University as a “dangerous attack” on tutorial freedom. Former RBI Governor and economist Raghuram Rajan too has expressed solidarity in a weblog, saying, “Metha is a thorn in the side of the establishment”.

The college college students union has given a strike name on March 22-23 over the resignations of Mehta and Arvind Subramanian, a famous economist who resigned in solidarity with Mehta.

Ashoka University on Sunday acknowledged “lapses in institutional processes” and expressed “deep regret” on the current occasions surrounding the resignations of political commentator Mehta and Subramanian from its school.

Meanwhile, Mehta wrote a letter to college students, urging them to not “press” for his return, asserting that the circumstances that led to his resignation is not going to change within the foreseeable future.

“Ashoka University’s commitment to core values and our Founders and Trustees’ role are being questioned in the wake of the recent resignation of Professor Pratap Bhanu Mehta,” Mukherjee mentioned, addressing Mehta by the primary title and calling him a “close personal friend” whom he had delivered to the college and succeeded him as Vice-Chancellor.

Mehta, he mentioned, made invaluable contributions to constructing Ashoka into the establishment. “We all regret what has happened, but I am sure we will recover and move forward from the situation we find ourselves in.”

“It would be no exaggeration to say that some of my colleagues, including faculty members and some Founders, and myself drew up the core values of Ashoka – critical thinking, intellectual autonomy, learning through debate and interaction, the importance of social responsibility, and of moral courage. Ashoka University and its reputation stand on these pillars,” he mentioned.

“We have always been and will remain committed to academic freedom and intellectual independence.”

This is why Ashoka has set new requirements in greater schooling in India. “With our additional commitment to excellence, I do not doubt that we will continue to scale new heights,” he mentioned.

Stating that he needed to interact very intently with the founders in constructing and fundraising for the college, he mentioned these are people who’ve labored selflessly and tirelessly to construct Ashoka into what it’s at the moment.

“Most of us were introduced to Ashoka by them. They have worked alongside us and seamlessly with us. Ashoka has a unique and unprecedented governance model that is collaborative but has natural guardrails to preserve academic integrity and independence,” he mentioned.

Ashoka has been a spot of many firsts and of setting new benchmarks, he mentioned. “As the Chancellor, I see it as my duty that the core values as laid out above are unfailingly adhered to.”

“As Ashoka University overcomes these difficult times and moves forward. I hope you will stay unwavering in your support for our quest to build India’s greatest university,” he added.

Dhawan mentioned the founders and trustees have all the time had the very best pursuits of Ashoka at coronary heart. “None of them have even an iota of commercial or business interest in the university.”

“We stand for free enquiry, tutorial freedom and intellectual independence and all the time will. We wouldn’t have come this far if that was not the case. Questions are supposed to be requested, and I perceive why all of you might be asking them proper now.

“I want to encourage you to continue questioning the world around you, including us. But, you should also know that we, as a University, will never intentionally let you down. You always have had and will have the freedom to express yourself,” he mentioned.

Stating that he has identified Mehta intently for over a decade, Dhawan mentioned he was as saddened by the 2 departures. “I deeply regret any lapses that led to this situation – this was not something we had anticipated or planned.”

“I assure you that Ashoka is a space that aims to empower its entire community and build on its core values,” he added.

“I admit that the departures of Professors Mehta and Subramanian make us all feel a tremendous loss but there is nothing for you to fear. As an institution, we are committed to freedom in every aspect.”



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