Discontent simmers at University of South Asia, two faculty members resign from their posts

No Board meeting (GB) since 2017; teacher pay raises and promotions frozen for two years without official notification; allegations of sidelining social science teachers in administrative positions – a host of issues are causing discontent at the University of South Asia (UAS).

The Indian Express has learned that the discontent has reached such levels that the dean of the faculty of social sciences and the chairman of the sociology department both tendered their resignations last month. SAU also missed its deadline to move to its new campus in Maidan Garhi on June 1.

The Indian Express sent a detailed questionnaire to SAU but received no response.

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The university was established through an agreement between SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries to provide education to students from the eight countries and is governed by each of them.

Discontent is evident in internal communications between teachers and administration over the past few months to call important meetings. In April, in the context of the cancellation of a board of trustees and meetings of financial experts, several emails were written by teachers asking the acting president to call a meeting of deans and presidents to discuss important questions, sources said.

There were also nearly a dozen emails asking the administration to convene meetings with teaching and non-teaching staff on the issue of salary freezes and promotions.

On May 12, Ravi Kumar, chairman of the Department of Sociology, resigned. “To achieve growth, any institution must have strong administrative mechanisms that adapt to changing times. SAU rules and regulations should be followed, and if they are a problem for growth, they should be formally changed. I have said these things countless times. But neither you nor other constituents of the administration have responded to my emails on the issue of

violations and non-enforcement of rules and regulations. A university must always be responsive. But we have seen, even during the pandemic, that our institution has grown increasingly callous towards students as well as staff,” he wrote to the acting president, saying his suggestions had “fallen on the ears of ‘a deaf’.

“Under these circumstances, it has become extremely difficult for me to continue as president…” he said. Kumar did not respond to calls and messages from the Indian Express.

On May 25, the dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, Sasanka Perera, submitted his resignation after the appointment of acting registrar was given to a professor of computer science, who already had other administrative responsibilities.

“Given your consistently demonstrated lack of leadership and your consistent insult to the university’s social science community through your selective appointments, I can no longer be a part of your administration if I am to maintain any degree of respect for myself… I will also write to the SAARC General Secretary, Board Chair and Host Government officials within the next 10 days explaining the reasons for my resignation detailing the deterioration of the state of governance of the SAU under your leadership,” he wrote.

When contacted, Perera said it was the immediate trigger but there were “multiple motives”. “On the one hand, the administration has been completely insensitive to students, especially when it comes to online courses and the payment of scholarships. If the university administration does not respond even after hundreds of emails, there is something wrong. Second, promotions of colleagues have been delayed and have only been done in a few cases… The problem is that the first is illegal and one of many ad hoc things the university has done,” he said. declared.

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