Central University of Tamil Nadu terminated two faculty members on contract without prior notice on 8th February 2019 on the charges of violation of conduct. The faculty members, Miss Aazhi Arasi and Miss Saranya, also served as residential wardens of the girls’ hostel. They were sacked when they asked to be relieved of their duty to act as the residential wardens because they did not agree with the administration’s sexist and repressive rules which lack logic and reason. Their sudden termination shows the university’s fear of faculty members who refuse to take part in the unjust treatment of students and to be a part of the repressive structures of power. They were not even given a chance to give an explanation.

This sudden termination for the trivial reason of being affable and considerate to the students is utterly outrageous as contract and permanent faculty members facing far more serious allegations, including repeated complaints of sexual harassment, are allowed to continue in their position and are also considered for promotion. This incident in the middle of the semester has a serious impact on the academics of the students as the terminated faculty members are also project guides of the final year postgraduate students.

This has been met with dissent by the students whose repeated attempts to revoke the decision is being continually suppressed. The registrar held a dialogue with the Student Council members and the representatives of the English department after repeated protest activities in the campus on 12th February 2019, but the authorities did not budge from this ego-driven decision of theirs.

Their sudden termination shows the university’s fear of faculty members who refuse to take part in the unjust treatment of students and to be a part of the repressive structures of power.

A hostel meeting which was held on December 12th, 2018 was attended by the resident wardens of the girls’ and boys’ hostels along with wardens and chief wardens of both the hostels. Among various other things, the matter of girls coming late to New Girls hostel was discussed. The resident wardens of the New Girls hostel were called ‘careless’, ‘irresponsible’ and ‘lethargic’ by the chief warden, Dr. Kavitha, and were accused of having “dealings with the students”. The chief warden also declared that she will make sure none of the resident wardens would be granted accommodation in the hostels the following academic year. She also asked why the resident wardens were friendly with the students and conveyed her annoyance and disapproval, informing that that shouldn’t be the case.

In order to avoid further problems, Miss Aazhi Arasi and Miss Saranya applied for accommodation in the guest house. Dr. Sumalatha thanked them for managing the hostel well and told them that no issues had come to her from the hostel when they had gone to inquire about the official procedure to vacate the hostel. Miss Saranya met the chief warden and got her approval. When Miss Aazhi Arasi went to meet the chief warden she was asked to get the signatures of the head of her department and the warden. On 8th February, the head of the department informed them that they had been called by the registrar for a meeting without providing any other information.

The meeting took place around 1.30 p.m. The whole scenario was intimidating as her tone was rude, harsh and her voice was loud throughout the meeting. They were told that there had been a lot of complaints regarding the New Girls hostel and asked about the steps that were taken against the latecomers.

Since they hadn’t reported to the warden about the girls that came late to the hostel, the Registrar shouted at them saying that they had not performed their duties properly and as a consequence, they wouldn’t be provided with any accommodation or facility on the campus. The complaint was that as resident wardens, they were not strict with their wards and hence their wards came late to the hostel. When both of them tried to give their explanations, they were not given any space to do so. They were constantly interrupted, taunted and finally yelled at. Their concerted efforts to offer justifications were outright rejected. Finally, she yelled at them asking them to leave the room around 1.35 p.m. Nothing about termination was mentioned in the meeting.

A few minutes later, the head of the department informed them there were orders from the Registrar to terminate them. At 6.22 p.m. they received a mail from the establishment section stating that they have been “terminated with immediate effect (08.02.2019- A.N) due to violation of conduct.” No other reason has been cited and no other explanation has been offered to them.

The Central University of Tamil Nadu has been constantly criticised on the basis of the saffronisation of the campus even though the authorities claim the campus to be “above politics and strictly adhering to rules“.

The Central University of Tamil Nadu has been constantly criticised on the basis of the saffronisation of the campus even though the authorities claim the campus to be “above politics and strictly adhering to rules“. It is their interest to maintain a despotic administrative system for the enforcement of their dominant ideology which discriminates against and undermines the voice of the students on many levels. The agenda behind such an immediate action is to silence the emerging voices within the campus, both from the faculty and the students, and thereby uproot the inception of faculty-student relationships that have the potential to limit this centralisation of power.

Anadha Krishnan M S, a second year student of Central University of Tamil Nadu, who is an active student organiser who represented the university in south zone inter-university youth festival, was earlier told to go to Pakistan when he planned to organise a cycle rally against rising fuel prices, stating the reason that one cannot criticise the government.

After we began our hunger strike, the registrar and all other administrative officers told us that they will arrange a meeting with the VC on Monday. As we do not trust their words, we have planned to go for a relay hunger strike till the VC arrives and till the order is revoked.

On hearing this, they informed our HOD that if the strike is not called off, all the English department students will be suspended and will be asked to leave our hostels. On top of it all, all our classes will be suspended for a minimum of two weeks. Calling their bluff, we asked them to issue the order in writing, which they failed to do so.

We will continue this fight against fascism until the order is revoked and justice is served.

Also read: HCU Students Strike Back: Our Velivada Shall Stand To Challenge Your Brahmanism

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