JNU Vice Chancellor Urges Students To Prioritize Studies Over Politics Amid Controversy

JNU Vice Chancellor Urges Students To Prioritize Studies Over Politics Amid Controversy

JNU Vice Chancellor urges students to balance activism with academics, defends measures to uphold order, and highlights reduction in unlawful activities during her tenure.

Siksha MUpdated: Saturday, January 13, 2024, 07:10 PM IST
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In the midst of escalating tensions over the Jawaharlal Nehru University's (JNU) stringent measures against campus protests, Vice Chancellor Santishree D Pandit has emphasized the importance of maintaining academic focus. The university recently implemented measures to curb dharnas within its premises, prompting concerns about students' academic freedom.

Academic integrity first

In an exclusive interview with PTI, Vice Chancellor Pandit stated, "Nobody's saying don't do protests, but at the same time, your academics should not be compromised." She expressed concern that disciplinary actions resulting from protests could negatively impact students' future job prospects. Pandit highlighted instances where politically engaged students sought extensions, cautioning that such requests could reflect unfavorably on their professional profiles.

Pandit referenced open debates and lectures on sensitive topics, such as the Israel-Hamas conflict, as evidence of JNU's culture of critical thinking. Despite the imposition of measures against protests, she acknowledged the university's commitment to fostering intellectual discourse.

Defending the Chief Proctor Office (CPO) manual

Addressing the controversy surrounding the Chief Proctor Office (CPO) manual, Pandit clarified that fines have not been increased. The revised manual, released in November, outlines penalties for actions like protesting in prohibited areas and raising anti-national slogans. Pandit defended the manual, asserting its alignment with high court recommendations to deter rule violations.

The vice chancellor emphasized the need for students to express their freedoms responsibly. She underscored that the university administration's goal is not to stifle dissent but to maintain order on campus. Pandit claimed a significant reduction in unlawful activities during her tenure, attributing this to the administration's measures.

However, Pandit acknowledged challenges in retracting proctorial inquiries, citing legal complexities and ongoing court cases. Despite the criticisms, she affirmed the university's commitment to providing a conducive academic environment while upholding disciplinary standards.

(Inputs from PTI)

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