Guest Post by SC/ST Faculty Forum, University of Hyderabad
[ We have recently received a request from The SC/ST Faculty Forum of the University of Hyderabad to publish a correspondence between them and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Hyderabad, Prof. Podile Appa Rao regarding the collective decision of the SC/ST Faculty Forum members to resign from administrative positions in the university. Accordingly, we are publishing below an open letter from the SC/ST Faculty Forum to the Vice Chancellor which is a response to a letter from the VC to the Convener of the SC/ST Faculty Forum, Dr. Sudhakar Babu. This letter is, in turn, a response to the original communication from the SC/ST Faculty Forum containing the collective decision to resign from administrative posts. These letters are being published in solidarity with the SC/ST Facutly Forum and in furtherance of the spirit of transparency, and public awareness, that they seek to uphold vis-a-vis all communication with the current vice chancellor.- Kafila]
Dear Prof.Appa Rao,
Thank you for your mail. We reiterate our collective decision to resign from administrative positions for the following reasons:
The Forum represents the collective will of the community. Its decision is not reducible to individual members of the community. By asking the forum members to individually give reasons for their resignations, you are downplaying the community’s experience of continuing caste atrocity on the campus. In fact, this mail of yours may be construed as a threat against individual members of the community and suggestive of demoralising the SC/ST members in a way that infringes upon and restrains their right to complain against you.
The Forum traces its history as a response to the rustication of ten Dalit students on the campus in 2001. Incidentally, you were one of the main perpetrators of caste atrocities on the students at that time. Today, you are not only responsible for the suicide of Rohit Vemula on January 17th but also the police brutalities and arrest of faculties including a Dalit faculty on trumped up charges following the March 22nd unforgivable and unforgettable event. An atmosphere of caste violence prevails on the campus —of fear, intimidation, social boycott and the SC/ST community feels extremely insecure by your presence.
We vehemently condemn the expeditious and inappropriate manner in which you have accepted the resignation of the Controller of Examinations and the mischievous way through which you are persuading the other members of the community to hold on to their resignations. This diabolic and unbecoming style of your leadership is at once appalling and extremely damaging to the interests of the SC/ST community on the campus.
Under the circumstances, we demand that you desist from holding individual Dalit faculty responsible for the collective decision of the Forum and thereby attempting to isolate and intimidate them.
Convener, SC/ST Faculty Forum
THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO A LETTER FROM THE VC To Dr. Sudhakar Babu, which is reproduced below.
Dear Dr. Sudhakar Babu,T
he Vice Chancellor office received your email conveying the decision of the SC/ST Teachers Forum that its members are not willing to work in administrative posts in the University. Since you have conveyed this message on behalf of our colleagues, I would like to request you to convey to all those who have expressed such concern to continue in their respective office. VC office would like to continue with their services in respective positions.
If any of our faculty colleagues from SC/ST Teachers Forum are unwilling to consider my request for their continuation in administrative office, please advise individual faculty members to tender resignation giving reason(s) which will be considered by the University accordingly. It may not be appropriate for the administration to act on the request from the convener of a forum about continuation of individual members of the forum in an administrative job.
You may recall that we have all worked together for a long time. I would like to continue with the same relationship with everybody in the University.
With best wishes,
Prof. Appa Rao Podile FASc, FNASc, FNAAS,
Tata Innovation Fellow (DBT)
University of Hyderabad
Hyderabad – 500 046, Telangana, India