14 August, 2018

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Jaffna College: Muthuratnanandan’s Election As Staff Representative Unconstitutional

Colombo Telegraph has been notified about a blatant violation of the Constitution of the Jaffna College Board. Article VI 5) of the Constitution approved on 10 October 2014 states unambiguously that the Staff Representative of the College should be a member of the staff: The staff of the College shall elect one registered alumnus of the College, who is a member of the staff and who is also a member of good standing of any Protestant Church as a member of the Board of Directors.

Bishop Daniel Thiagarajah

R. Muthuratnanandan was elected as Staff Representative to the Board in mid-2014 following A. Rajasingam’s resignation from that position earlier that year. Since Muthuratnanandan was a member of the Board when the Constitution was amended, one can assume he would have been aware of the amendment brought about in October 2014 that would make him ineligible to continue as Staff Representative. The Constitution does not state that the amendments would not affect the status of those who held membership in the Board at the time of the amendments. But not only did Muthuratnanandan continue as the Staff Representative to the Board till the end of his term but he also ran for the position for the second time in 2017 when his first term came to an end. 

The alumni members we spoke to asked in anger on what basis Principal Rev. Dr. Solomon who chaired the meeting where Muthuratnanandan was elected as Staff Representative approved Muthuratnanandan’s candidacy given that the Principal, as a Board member who participated in amending the Constitution, should have known that there was no provision in the amended Constitution for a person who is not a member of the staff to run for that position. They also note that by not announcing to the staff the amendment made to the Constitution which enabled the members of the staff of the College to run for the post of Staff Representative, the Principal has effectively denied the teachers and non-academic staff of the College their constitutional right.   

The alumni who contacted Colombo Telegraph said that since Muthuratnanandan was ineligible to serve as the Staff Representative post-amendment, all meetings of the Board of Directors that he has attended since October 2014 and all decisions that were taken at those meetings can be declared null and void legally. 

The alumni who know Muthuratnanandan as a clean, honest and hardworking man in his career as Engineer during difficult times at the height of the war in the North are of the view that the more authoritarian members of the Board have taken advantage of his unassuming ways and exploited his modesty to achieve their narrow ambitions. Some even wonder if the Constitution was amended in secrecy by the Chairperson and the Vice Chairperson, who is a legal expert, without the knowledge of the other members of the Board including Mr. Muthuratnanandan. This line of argument is supported by the fact that two other members of the Board Dr. Chelvi Selliah, Retired Principal of Uduvil Girls’ College and Mrs. Suganthy Vairasinghe, Retired Teacher, Jaffna College, had refuted a claim made by some alumni at the Annual General Meeting of the Jaffna College Alumni Association (Colombo) held in 2016 that amendments were made to the Constitution (See our Report).  

After repeated requests by the Alumni Representative to the Board Sugash Kanagaratnam, the present Constitution of the Board was finally released to him by the Principal in late 2017. The Constitution states that it was adopted on the 10th of October 2014. Mr. Kangaratnam handed in a copy of the Constitution that he had received from the Principal to the President of the Jaffna College Alumni Association at a meeting of the Executive Committee held in March 2018 in the presence of the Principal. Earlier in 2017, the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds notified in one of their communications (click here to read the letter) to the Chair of the Board that they had received from him a copy of the Constitution adopted on 10 October 2014:

Thank you for The CONSTITUTION of the Board of Directors of Jaffna College dated October 10, 2014. To better understand the evolution of changes, please provide a copy of The Constitution in effect in 2006 noting the changes compared with The Constitution currently in effect. These changes may be reflected with hand written notes in the margins. Alternatively, changes may be reflected in a so-called redlined version using Microsoft Word. 

The Constitution received by Kanagaratnam and the Constitution received by the Trustees have October 10, 2014 as the date on which the Constitution was adopted. The message from the Trustees was copied to 19 others including the Chief Minister of the Northern Province and representatives of the various alumni associations. 

Suppression of Letters Sent by the Administrators, Teachers and Alumni

A special meeting of the Jaffna College Board was held on the 27th of July 2018 in Colombo. Before the commencement of the meeting the alumni in Colombo protested outside the meeting venue demanding the resignation of the Chair and Vice Chair of the Board and the full implementation of the reforms proposed by the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds. 

The latest letter sent by the Trustees of Jaffna College Funds where they announce that the funds to the College will be completely discontinued from January 2019 unless the Chairperson and Vice Chairperson step down from the Board, until a process to amend the Constitution in such a way that the Board can function as an independent entity is started was tabled. 

Kanagaratnam, who represented the alumni, tried to table the statements issued by the Jaffna College Alumni Association (Parent Body) and Jaffna College Alumni Association (Colombo) (click here to view the Colombo Alumni statement) in support of the Trustees’ decision was prevented from doing so. In the meantime the administrators of the College and the Executive Committee of the Round Table had sent the Board via the Principal and the Staff Representative two separate letters requesting the Board to act according to the Trustees’ letter. When Kanagaratnam wanted to have copies of the letters, Muthuratnanandan had reportedly told him off saying that he would not release those letters to anyone because they would not be discussed at the meeting. Later on Muthuratnanandan had apparently said he could not table the letter(s) because the subject under discussion at the meeting was the Trustees’ letter. When Kanagratnam asked the Principal about the letter signed by the six administrators of the College including the Principal, the Principal had pretended as if he were not aware of any such letter. The alumni and a section of the staff have condemned the Board leadership’s decision to suppress their letters which contained views of important stakeholders on the Trustees’ letter and their recommendations to the Board. They note with dismay and anger that the Principal and Mr. Muthuratnanandan, instead of representing the employees and protecting the interests of the College, have connived with the Chairperson of the Board in suppressing their voice. 

The Board decided to seek a clarification from the Trustees as to why the Chair and the Vice Chair of the Board should resign. Kangaratnam, who demanded the resignation of the Chair and the Vice Chair, wanted his dissent recorded in the communication sent to the Trustees. The Board agreed to do so. The next Board meeting has been scheduled for the 8th of September. 

The serious violation of the Constitution of the Jaffna College Board, which has deprived the staff of the College of their right to elect one of them as their representative, and the manner in which the Staff Representative let down the employees of the College that he supposedly represented once again confirms the public opinion among the alumni, parents and the larger community that there is no room for accountability, transparency and democracy in the Board of Directors of Jaffna College led by Bishop Daniel Thiagarajah.

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  • 3
    11

    This can be rectified by electing our leader Maha Ven Gnanasara as staff representative and provide a senior professor position to him teaching Buddhists studies.

    • 4
      2

      Maha Ven Ghansara IS willing to join one of these churches, if he becomes the leader, that are fighting for the leadrship of the college. IT doe snot matter Evangelist or not.

  • 6
    0

    Interestinger and interestinger, this is.
    .
    When I read in the earlier article that a Mr Sugash Kanagaratnam had joined the strikers, you will see (if you care to act on the request of a Sinhala guy) that I had dismissed the report as not being of any importance. But I later began to realise that it was very significant. This would be unthinkable in the South. The Thomian Board resembles the Spartan Phalanx.
    .
    I feel that Fortune has favoured you denizens of Yaalpanam. Mr Kanagaratnam appears to have joined the rebels. However, even apart from all that has been said about the Mr Muthuratnanandan saga, it seems to be that teachers are still held in respect Upnawth. At S. Thomas’ no member of the Staff may serve on the BoG. Right now, Mr Chana Asela de Silva, who left the tutorial staff a couple of years ago represents the Mt Lavinia Staff. The Branch School Staffs are currently represented by a guy who was on the non-Academic Staff, but that’s what all that “Thomian Pharisees” stuff was about. Pardon me, but I’m not repeating all that; and not necessary, since you can see it all, with comments from my detractors, who got nowhere.
    .
    Suddenly, “all the clouds that lour’d upon our house [are]
    In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.”
    .
    We seem to be getting somewhere!
    .
    P.S. I’m waiting for somebody to point out that the quotation is most inept!

    • 3
      0

      Sinhala Man,

      Thank you for the information on the background of the Government Gazette from 1983. Very interesting! Have you noticed how much media attention Jaffna College has received and not only here? What next? Hidden camera sending next Board meeting live?
      #
      I do not know what the new (?) pension system you described is. Anyway pensions are for the school staff and Board to discuss.
      #
      It is true that the alumni rep has been active asking questions at the latest meeting and demonstrating in front of the school. At the same time it is unclear what he has done at previous meetings. In the worst case he is motivated by soon to be elections.
      #
      Nice to have you as a well wisher.

  • 15
    0

    I am nearing my proverbial three score and ten, and though I did not study at Jaffna College, over many years, the heritage of Jaffna College has left a deep mark on what I am. My grandfather Canon Somasundaram entered St. Stephen’s Calcutta for his science degree from Jaffna College about 1895. My mother did her London Inter from Jaffna College in the late 1930s. Whatever intellectual tradition Jaffna had owes to the Jaffna Youth Congress (late 1920s to 1940s), whose formative pasture was Jaffna College of John Bicknell. It was a political forum for the whole of Ceylon. (Today however we need to be critical of its legacy for the Boycott of the 1931 elections, which enabled D.S. Senanayake to get away too easily with the Land Development Ordinance, which was the death knell for the political rights of Up Country Tamils; and the Youth Congress had also been almost blind to Tamil complicity in the fate of Up Country Tamils.)
    In my school and University days too, old students of Jaffna College were known for their intellectual skills and ability to discuss issues. I received the best part of my political education (in today’s context what should be the most important content of education) from two old students of Jaffna College, the late Dr. Rajani Thiranagama and Dr. K. Sritharan.
    With this history in mind, I have no enthusiasm to revive Jaffna College to merely function as another school. It will serve little purpose unless it is revived as a tertiary institution, contributing to the revival of Jaffna as an intellectual centre. It could then mobilise the intellectual resources among Tamils worldwide, which Jaffna University turns away.

    • 13
      0

      Once I saw a fire department doing a promotion right in front of a building that was ablaze.

    • 4
      0

      “[…] unless it is revived as a tertiary institution, contributing to the revival of Jaffna as an intellectual centre. It could then mobilise the intellectual resources among Tamils worldwide[…]”
      This indeed is a very good suggestion. Even a spinach shop needs a bit of competition from across the road.

    • 1
      2

      I agree with you, Jaffna College produced a lot of intellectuals to the country.
      We need a lot of intellectuals to deal with the present plight of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
      We need a good leadership to lead the oppressed Tamils to freedom:
      As you see the political situation at the moment it seems that Tamils need an Independent separate state; The reasons are as follows:
      https://www.academia.edu/29486541/Importance_of_an_Independent_Homeland_for_Tamils_in_Sri_Lanka_Genocide_of_Tamils_in_Sri_Lanka

    • 5
      0

      Very good suggestion. One of my brothers studied for A/L and the youngest was in the undergrad section. They spoke highly of the education they received. They are no longer living. The undergrad section and the Technical College section should be degree granting unit with new staff. It can prepare students to sit for the Univ of London. Also conduct research. The current pettiness from the OBA and school board is not becoming of the Jaffna College my brothers and I knew.

      • 0
        0

        What is the pettiness from the OBA that you are talking about?

  • 0
    0

    In all governing boards, there is room for accountability, transparency and democracy. The happenings at SriLankan Airlines are examples.
    The Board of Directors of Jaffna College led by Bishop Daniel Thiagarajah is no exception. Allegations must stop. One of the ‘sides’ must take the matter to courts.

    Meanwhile the Board of Trustees are laughing all the way to the bank! They can in fact initiate judicial intervention.

  • 10
    0

    If someone wants to cling to a public office, even after that public says we’ve had enough of you, it is obvious there are personal stakes involved. “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

  • 4
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 2
    0

    Rev. David Solomon/Principal of Jaffna College,

    I am confused by your behavior last week. After the demonstration last Tuesday you stated to media among other things that Jaffna College has no problems and that all teachers are qualified to teach what they are teaching.
    #
    Some days after your media appearance you signed a letter with 5 other administrators requesting the Board of Directors to start reforms demanded by the Trustees in the school. This maybe included even a call for the Chair and Vice Chair to step down.
    #
    On Friday at the Board meeting you knew nothing about the letter you had signed some days earlier.
    #
    Do you suffer from unstable mind and amnesia? Panic attacks?
    #
    Friendly advice: you cannot please all the parties in this conflict. What ever you do one of the parties will make you pay. Choose your side carefully.

    • 0
      0

      Gabriel,
      You forgot the meeting of OBA with Solomon Thursday night. I do not know was he for or against reforms at that meeting.

  • 3
    0

    I am really sad to read this post. How did Mr Muthratnanandan get trapped by the mafia-led by Thiagarajah? As mentioned in the article, he was known as an honest, soft-spoken person. Hope he realizes that it is time to ditch Thiagarajah and his cardboard.

  • 2
    1

    “Operation successful patient died”, so says the old adage which very well applies for the present plight of Jaffna College. Debating and fighting for electing Mr. Muthuratnandnam as the staff representative is not the need of the hour. All stakeholders of Jaffna College should sit together to resolve the problems amicably for good for the betterment of the society. It is a well-known fact that there is scarcity to find qualified professionals to manage educational institutions in Jaffna as the war took its toll by making many of the professionals to migrate to other countries which is very unfortunate. Therefore we should make good use of the professionals who withstood against all difficulties during the gruesome war times and hats off for their determination. Therefore I would like to reiterate the fact that Mr.Muthuratnandam is the right candidate for “Staff Representative”.

    • 2
      0

      Well – there is something called Constitution. Nobody will object to the election of Mr Muthuratnanandam if his election was constitutional. What this report says is that his election is a violation of the Constitution. Please read the report carefully. Thanks.

      • 1
        0

        Maruthu,

        “Well – there is something called Constitution.”

        Many thanks for the reminder. I question the suspension of Mr Sutharsan who is accused of sexual abuse. I also would like to know who has decided to extend the service of some elderly teachers and now decided that some temporary members of staff will have their jobs terminated. The Constitution makes it clear that the Executive Committee has the power to decide temporarily but that the Board must afterwards agree with the decision.

        Since there was no Board meeting the Ex Co must have decided on Mr Sutharsan but was this accepted by the Board last week?

        • 0
          0

          All the decisions that you mention were made by the Board = Bishop Daniel.
          I don’t think the Executive Committee met. The decision was made as usual by the man at the helm.

    • 2
      0

      Mr. Kunchithapathan,

      Yes – there is a scarcity of human resources in the North. But what about turning away and ill-treating talented and qualified people and people of integrity when they offered their services to Jaffna College. In case, you are not aware of this, a very talented and qualified person applied for the post of Principal at Jaffna College. She was eventually appointed as a Deputy Principal along with another person who is well-known for thuggery at Vaddukoddai. The Bishop supported the thug and took no action against him when he intimidated her and blocked her from working. Finally the woman with great skills and a great vision had to resign from the post she briefly held at Jaffna College.

      First find out whether the Jaffna College Board took any sincere effort to find out if there were resources available in the North to serve the College before jumping to the conclusion that resources are not available.

      Bishop Thiagarajah is known for giving jobs to those who switch from the CACM to JDCSI and their families and relatives. Ask the people you know on what basis a certain ex-administrator’s (the ex-administrator held an important position in the JDCSI when the split happened) daughter who does not even have three passes in AL (but she has a degree) was given a teaching job at Jaffna College. Do you have any idea about the GCE O/L and GCE A/L results of a certain administrator of the College? If people dig up these matters, some important people who dominate Jaffna College at present may end up in prison.

      • 0
        0

        Mr. Uthayn,
        Understand your concerns. Though I am not fully aware of the ground situation of this problem, I do have sympathy and sincere gratitude for this organization. Because of the fact that, I being a born Hindu, Jaffna College Technical Institute of Vadukodai accommodated me and other Hindu students to follow a two-year full-time diploma course for a paltry sum for which myself and my colleagues are deeply indebted to this prestigious organization. I wish this organization should be rebuilt to serve the deserving communities.

  • 2
    0

    Maruthu,
    .
    I agree absolutely that a constitution has to be taken seriously, and that in “normal” circumstances the letter of the law ought to be adhered to. However, what you now have in Jaffna College and UGC are conditions that clearly are not normal.
    .
    You say that Mr Muthuratnanandan is ineligible to be the Staff Representative. Who elected him is not clear. The article says: ” he also ran for the position for the second time in 2017 when his first term came to an end.” Presumably, the staff elected him. However, it is stated that the Staff were not kept informed of changes to the constitution. This quote is important:
    .
    “by not announcing to the staff the amendment made to the Constitution which enabled the members of the staff of the College to run for the post of Staff Representative, the Principal has effectively denied the teachers and non-academic staff of the College their constitutional right.
    .
    A grave violation given that later it is stated that “the Principal and Mr. Muthuratnanandan, . . . have connived with the Chairperson of the Board in suppressing their voice.”
    .
    Lots of nice things have been said about Muthuratnanandan; had he been transparently elected by a Staff that preferred him to one of their own (that is a possibility), then this wouldn’t be outrageous; now it is.
    .
    Many devout Christians would find it difficult to believe that Bishops and the like would act like this. I’d like to assert that they’ve been often acting like this. For that, I have to refer you to what’s been happening at S. Thomas’, and continues to happen.

  • 1
    0

    An interlude! I’m not keen on washing all the Thomian dirty linen in public; let me put it off for tomorrow.
    .
    Meanwhile a few thoughts on what is so wrong with our Sri Lankan society today. There are some broad categories in to which Sri Lankan society can be divided. Once you start, you are forced to recognise ever smaller units seeming to demand recognition as “special interest groups”. So, you’ve got the Sinhala-Buddhists insisting that they “own” the islands, and all minorities are interlopers. {When one examines more closely, one begins to realise that caste does play a role among the Sinhalese, but please let that pass.}
    .
    Each group feels that it’s quite all right distorting facts just a little to safeguard your own sub-group, so we never tell the whole truth. The guy who does is the hated whistle-blower. I’ve been cast in that role many times, and I assure you that it is no fun.
    .
    Anglican Christians number only 24,000 in the island today. That is a statement which will astonish many – mostly non-Christians. There are well over a million Catholics. The Evangelicals are making inroads, mostly by “converting” from those families that have been Christian for 150 years. Clergy belonging to the “old” churches think that there is nothing “wrong” in safeguarding their heritage. What I will do, tomorrow, is to show how such thinking has destroyed what was of value in the Church.

  • 3
    1

    “Anglican Christians number only 24,000 in the island today. “

    “It will serve little purpose unless it is revived as a tertiary institution, contributing to the revival of Jaffna as an intellectual centre. “

    Thanks for the statistics. When the issue of Anglican numbers was raised at the Warden’s conference at Killinochci, this March. Fr. Dixon said no, it was 50K. Many keep their names on for cemetry space.

    The money the Anglican church has is way out of proportion. Yet no new initiatives is ever taken except in corrupting the Liturgy repeatedly.
    Its all used to maintain what the white missionaries started. It is like their mission is to preserve a relic.

    Little vision. Unbelievers are the majority in the councils. The former Bishop’s personal Secretary was boasting that he did not believe in the Nicene Creed. Some adulterous priests and corrupt priests are lording it over us and could be additional Bishop’s soon.
    Yet a Christian University is a direct need in Jaffna reading this article, The Anglican Church should start one. But Priests Like Fr. Rienzie Pieris and Fr. Joshua Ratnam will decide who gets to start a Christian University. The Hooles have criticized the Church on certain issues that the Hooles may not be allowed to.

    Jaffna college was the second University level institution in Sri Lanka. It is time it is upgraded to University level again.

    The need is great. Christians must rise to the occasion for our Lord’s work suffers when we fight.

    • 4
      0

      Education should be spared the ugly divisiveness and infighting rooted in religious bluster, whether it be Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or any other! Else, we will remain condemned, gravely impotent in providing objective education that our youth urgently deserve and desire.
      .
      We don’t need a Christian university, nor a Hindu University, nor a Muslim University, nor Buddhist university…
      .
      To free-up education from these asinine religious-focus, first the educators need to grow up beyond their foolish desire for faith-linked dominance, partisanship and chauvinism.

      • 0
        0

        Kumar,
        The trustees in the USA have a large amount of money that has to be used for christian education in Jaffna District.

        • 0
          0

          Asha,

          Could you please clarify your statement “has to be used for christian education in Jaffna”?
          .
          What exactly does “christian education” mean?
          .
          (1) educating the Jaffna youth about Christianity?
          (2) educating (just) the Christian youth in Jaffna?
          (3) educating the youth in Jaffna (irrespective of religious affiliation) via a Christian administered institution? If so, I think the term “christian education” is inappropriate.

          Thank you.

          • 1
            1

            Kumar,

            I cannot help you. The trustees decide where the grants are sent and NOT sent. Please contact them with your concerns. Thank you.

            • 3
              0

              Asha,

              That is the most pathetic, if not a “slime-ball” of a response, if there was one. If you do not know what “christian education” is, then don’t use that for reasoning out anything!
              .
              In any case, you prove my point about the disgusting myopia driven of religious fervor by a fringe group.
              .
              The recent initiatives towards “Christian University in the North”, “Christian education for the North”, “Christian majoritarian advantage in the City of Jaffna” (as Hoole described in a recent write-up) are all worrisome developments that need to be nipped in the bud for the imminent danger that such divisive and idiotic concepts can cause to the entire society.
              .
              As you can see from Paramanathan’s comment above appreciating Jaffna College’s contribution to non-Christians, I am certain that a large number of Diaspora Christian and non-Christian contributors are not contributing towards a narrowly and misguidedly focused “Christian education” whatever that means. Perhaps your comment will open their eyes, if in case there is indeed such a fringe group that is promoting the narrow mindedness in your statement about “Christian education”.
              .
              The current problem facing the Trustees possibly surrounds issues such as unconstitutional appointments, favoritism, misappropriation of funds, deficiencies in accounting practices (intentional or otherwise), all of which certainly require appropriate investigation, auditing, disciplinary and perhaps legal actions with appropriate penalties and punishments.
              .
              However, using those possible administrative deficiencies and misconduct of Jaffna College as an excuse to try to undermine the region’s education system so as to covertly promote a partisan, religion-based control is vile and infinitely detrimental. Remember Banda?!

              • 0
                1

                As before, this Kumar R is attributing to me words I have never used: He claims in quotation marks: “Christian majoritarian advantage in the City of Jaffna” (as Hoole described in a recent write-up) “

                Up to his old tricks again. Once before too, he was caught at this game and when I challenged him to show where I had used those words, he did not respond

  • 1
    0

    Part 1 of 3
    .
    Dear Mani,
    .
    This comment of mine is not designed for your liking, but isn’t it necessary to start by being honest? I’m a baptised and confirmed Anglican, but neither a regular church goer nor one who subscribes to all that is affirmed in the Nicene Creed. I was educated in the schools in Bandarawela, Gurutalawa, and Mt Lavinia. I can affirm this much: I know what Christianity and Anglicanism are about, and I feel that there is a great need in this country for principled activity in the field of Education. Any other queries will be answered honestly.

    Our problem is that the activities of the Anglican Church in the field of Education don’t measure up to even the norms of truth prevalent in every day parlance. Let me focus on what I say is awry in this context of Staff Representation. The Board of Governors Ordinance No.7 of 1930 has nothing of relevance, but please do check the web. What is relevant is to be found here:
    .
    http://www.stcg62group.org/PDF/College/05_Rules_of_STC_Board_of_Governors.pdf
    .
    Let me excerpt more fully than in my response to the article of July 26th, and explain why it is that teachers in the schools get de-motivated by what can only be called “cheating”. The Board consists of 15 Members, five of whom are elected. These Rules are relevant to their election:
    .
    Quote commences
    .
    “Two representatives of the S.Thomas’ College Old Boys’ Association, Mt.Lavinia, elected from among its members.
    .
    1.4 One Representative from the Old Boys’ Association of the Branch Schools at Gurutalawa, Bandarawela and Kollupitiya elected by those Associations from among their members in the following manner.

  • 0
    0

    Part 2 of 3
    .
    Rule 1.4 continued
    .
    The Presidents and Secretaries of the Old Boys’ Associations of each of the Branch Schools will meet together as an Electoral College under the Chairmanship of the Hony. Secretary of the Board of Governors to elect a single member to represent the Old Boys’ Associations of the Branch Schools.
    Where the Head of the School is also the President of the Old Boys’ Association, the Senior Vice President will serve on the electoral college in place of the President.
    .
    1.5.1 One person elected by the tutorial and administrative Staff of S.Thomas’ College Mt.Lavinia.
    .
    1.5.2 One person elected by an electoral college under the Chairmanship of the Hony. Secretary of the Board of Governors consisting of representatives of the Staff made up as follows:
    Two from the tutorial and administrative staffs of each of the Branch schools at
    Gurutalawa, Bandarawela and Kollupitiya
    .
    1.5.3
    The following conditions shall be applicable to the aforesaid elections referred to in 1.5.1 and 1.5.2.
    (a) The election shall be by secret ballot.
    (b) The persons nominated for election shall be members of the respective Old Boys’ Associations.
    (c) The members of the staffs of the four schools shall not be eligible for nomination or election.
    (d) The candidates for election shall be members of the Church of Ceylon or of a Church in communion with that church.”
    .
    End Quote
    .
    Please look here to see the full Rules:
    .
    http://www.stcg62group.org/PDF/College/05_Rules_of_STC_Board_of_Governors.pdf

    Maruthu had pointed out that the Staff Representative election to the Directors of Jaffna College was not in order. Please note that the criteria are very different here, but the dishonesty enacted is the same: not allowing Staff to have a representative elected by them.

  • 1
    0

    Part 3 of 3
    .
    At S. Thomas’ the thinking has clearly been that no employee of the schools (including the Heads of the Schools) should be a member of the Board, or have a say in the election. Please see the last sentence of rule 1.4. This specific exclusion is not repeated in 1.5.2 in relation to electing a Staff Representative for the Branch Schools. However, 1.5.3 states that there should be a secret ballot.
    .
    A lawyer (old boy of the same three schools as I) has told me that this is terrible drafting. Was that deliberately so? It wouldn’t be possible to launch a judicial challenge to the Headmasters of Bandarawela and Kollupitiya taking it on themselves to elect a representative. What they did was to pick out two servile members of their Staffs and send them for the elections to vote for their choice. I have no wish to go in to this again. Please see here:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-thomian-pharisees-are-unrepentant-why-this-matters-to-all-sri-lankans/

    The Gurutalawa School for the third time on record held a full staff meeting, and for the second time the culmination was a Secret Ballot in the school. The secret ballot specified in 1.5.3? That, the Headmasters of Bandarawela and Kollupitiya have told me repeatedly was to be held when the “electoral college” of six met under the Chairmanship of the Hony. Secretary”. The Hony. Secretary has been Mr Rajan Asirwatham for as long a long time – perhaps twenty years.
    .
    There are many issues here, such as gross under-representation of the Branch Schools, and the attitudes towards teachers that have made something as outrageous as this possible. But what I have stated is specific, and has not been contradicted.
    .
    How do we move forwards from here?

    • 2
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      Sinhala_Man,
      #
      Thank you for your continued interest in the problems of the North. I have read your articles and it looks like the STCs and very likely many other private schools run by religious groups have similar problems. Money may not be fully accounted for, Constitution is ignored and staff is selected from the persons close to the decision makers not always the most qualified and often not qualified at all.
      #
      “How do we move forwards from here?”
      #
      Use the power of money. Reduce or stop funds coming from parents or/and Trustees. Media attention. Take violations of Constitution to court but it might be better to bribe the judge first. Demand better control of the private schools from the Ministry of Education.

      • 0
        0

        Dear sensible Lone Wolf,
        .
        Thanks for your level-headed comment.
        .
        I think that people “Upnawth” still have some respect for teachers. I wonder how it will turn out on Saturday in the hills. Wish alumni like these guys were there:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-story-of-a-sri-lankan-mans-lawn/comment-page-1/#comment-2202679
        .
        But that is wishful thinking; nevertheless, what we place our faith in is something like what you recommend. Thanks for being concerned about the rest of our country as well.

    • 1
      0

      Sinhala_Man,
      ¤
      What kind of background do the Governors of the three schools have? Any formal requirement?
      ¤
      When is “your” Bishop going to retire? Is that going to help?

      • 1
        0

        Dear Lone Wolf,
        .
        I hope this helps you.
        .
        There now are FOUR schools, not three. No individual owns them; it may be most rational to say that they belong to the Colombo Diocese of the Church of Ceylon. This is the basis on which they are governed:
        .
        http://www.stcg62group.org/PDF/College/04_STC_Board_of_Governors_Ordinance.pdf
        .
        When the school came in to existence in 1851, it was located in Mutwal, Colombo 15. It moved to Mt Lavinia in 1918. When the Ordinance was passed by the Legislative Council in 1930, that was the only school. This says, “Revision of 1956” but I don’t think there is any change. There now are the Three Branch Schools as well, which is reflected by those Rules that I have already quoted.
        .
        The effect of this Document is that 80% of the Members of the Board of Governors should be “members of the Church of England in
        Ceylon or of a Church in communion with that Church”
        .
        In effect today it means that they should belong in a formal way to one of the churches that belongs here:
        .
        http://nccsl.org/web/associate-member-churches/
        .
        I have deliberately given a link to the Associate Churches. The JDCSI is a full member. The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka now has eleven denominations. There is hair splitting on all this.
        .
        There now are 15 Members of the Board of Governors. As individuals, they do not have to belong to any given religion, but 12 must be members of the NCC. So, only three can be “others”. So, in effect there is a “Religious Qualification” – over-all. Roman Catholics would be among “others”; various other “Evangelical Groups” as well. In practice they would not be welcome. Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims would be more welcome – but mostly as OBA Representatives.

      • 1
        0

        Lone Wolf,

        As for other qualifications, there are No Age or Academic Qualification. However, to continue with how “religion” works:

        http://www.stcg62group.org/PDF/College/05_Rules_of_STC_Board_of_Governors.pdf

        .
        You may find this strange:

        “1.9 Such other persons not exceeding four in number who shall be co-opted by resolution of the Board ensuring that at least eighty percent of the members shall be members of the Church of Ceylon or of a church in communion with that church as required by Section 3 (1) (b) of the S.Thomas’ College Board of Governors Ordinance No. 7 of 1930.”
        .
        That co-opting quite often includes a non-Christian or two, provided not too many non-Christians are nominated from among the OBAs.
        .
        There has to a member Representing the Universities: he must be a Protestant Christian; so also the two Staff Representatives, one for Mt Lavinia, and one for all the other Branch Schools. Very unfair under-representation of the Branch Schools. All of that could be changed by the Board itself.
        .
        In effect, 5 members are elected. They must all be members of one of the Old Boys’ Associations. Being an Old Boy is not enough.
        .
        I wonder if that really answers all your questions? If you really were wondering if there has to be an Academic or Professional Qualification, the answer is that there isn’t.
        .
        As for your other question, this is the current Bishop:
        .
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhiloraj_Canagasabey
        .
        They say that he’s going to retire in May 2020, on reaching the age of 65. I don’t think that his retirement is going to make any real difference. These are not bad people! It’s just that when they become clergy, they all have a feeling of entitlement. This Bishop tries to have only priests as Heads of schools. A defensive stance; professionalism is surely more important.

        • 0
          0

          Sinhala_Man,
          ¤
          Thank you. I thought that there are only three STC schools and that Evangelicals and Catholics are Christians. Had no knowledge of how much hair splitting there is. Yes, the branch schools deserve larger representation. In Jaffna two of the private schools have a reverend as principal, a third has the daughter of a reverend. I assume that the two Catholic private schools have a priest or nun as principals. As to the fifth private school Chundukuli (Church of Ceylon) I do not know. Maybe a wife or daughter of a reverend?

          • 1
            0

            Dear Lone Wolf,
            .
            You’re so honest and earnest in your questioning that I think I must “unconfuse” you with a sincere response. What you are requesting are common sense answers, not what authorities on the subject may say – and I don’t know that sort of thing, in any case.
            .
            So, now you know that there are three Branch Schools of S. Thomas’; from the Rules that I had linked you to you would know them to be: “Gurutalawa, Bandarawela and Kollupitiya”. We don’t need their histories do we?
            .
            Yes, yes, all these people you are confronted with are “Christians”.
            .
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations
            .
            That will cause confusion. I’m no authority, but here goes:
            .
            The word “catholic” means “universal, all embracing” and therefore even “liberal”. In the understanding of the non-learned Christians, it means “Roman Catholic” – and that has solid claims to being the original Christian Church. Owing to history relating to the break up of the Roman Empire, there is an important group of churches known as the “Orthodox Churches”. Important in the Middle-East and Russia, but don’t bother with them in Sri Lanka.
            .
            Protestantism: think of it as starting a little after 1500, as a reaction in Europe against Rome. Partly against human corruption in Rome; partly nationalistic, partly political; and partly doctrinal. Once the splitting began, it went on apace – and continues. This seems to be how the Catholic Church tends to see it:
            .
            http://www.ncregister.com/blog/scottericalt/we-need-to-stop-saying-that-there-are-33000-protestant-denominations%20
            .
            Evangelicals: I feel like giving up! Shall we say that they are people who are trying hard to convert others? Let’s see if rather more “religious” people correct me – and thereby make it possible for you to get a more valid answer.

          • 0
            0

            Part 2
            .
            In practical terms, these guys are not at all popular with Buddhists and Hindus. Isn’t it obvious why I’ve not brought Muslims in to this? The most ardent of them persist in trying to convert “heathens”; the more prudent, try to wean people away from the traditional churches. They usually are under pressure to from donors abroad to show “results”.
            .
            Lone Wolf, you are intelligent: you will notice that this response began objectively, but is progressively getting more biassed!
            .
            A group I greatly admire are the Quakers:
            .
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quakers
            .
            I don’t think many will read through all of that; if you do, I think that they will share my admiration.
            .
            At this juncture, for you in Jaffna, it’ll be sensible for you to research a bit the differences between “Congregationalists” and “Episcopalians”. I’m not well versed in this myself, and not inclined to study all this too much. There is no “the Anglican Church of the USA”. They call themselves, “Episcopalians” – which means they have Bishops – unlike “Congregationalists”. Not calling themselves Anglicans may have something to do with the American War of Independence. The Head of the Anglican Church is/ was the King of England.
            .
            Is/ was? Am I not sure? Correct. Those brought up as Catholic tend to be rock solid in their faith. So, I’m sure will be a person like the admirable Jeevan Hoole. I think that Rajan Hoole will tell you more quietly and humbly that he is a Christian, but there are other ways of looking at things. A guy like me is much less sure where I stand. Pretty fed up with all organized religion.
            .
            I may have transgressed by speaking of other Sri Lankans; I hope that I will be pardoned.

  • 0
    0

    UPDATE
    At the meeting of the board last friday a decision was made to ask trustees why the chair and vice chair should step down. It is surprising that a board with highly educated members refuses or pretends not to understand the clear message in the letters that have arrived from trustees in plain english and even been published.

    The board sent out a media release accusing trustees of various things and stating that they will do everything they can to avoid closing down the schools. Everything expect the demanded stepping down of the chair and vice chair.

    Do the chair and vice chair have the right to destroy the schools because of their pride? What are they hiding? Where has all the money gone?

  • 5
    1

    Muththu (Muththu Ratnanandan) is my good friend from our undergraduate days. He is absolutely honest. I have also known him to forcefully speak to the Bishop when necessary. That is, he is no “yes man”.

    He will not knowingly do wrong. That I am very sure of.

    The article says

    Since Muthuratnanandan was a member of the Board when the Constitution was amended, one can assume he would have been aware of the amendment brought about in October 2014 that would make him ineligible to continue as Staff Representative.

    Knowing Muththu so well, I state confidently that he never would have knowingly transgressed the Constitution.

    • 2
      0

      Dear Professor Hoole,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I also think Mr Muthu is an honest person. But don’t you think Muthu should have asked for the Constitution and read it carefully before attending the meetings?

    • 4
      0

      Dr. R. Hoole,

      I wish to thank you for your reply and understand that you are not the representative of Muththu here. Now that Muththu definitely must have gained knowledge of that fact that he cannot be the staff representative should he not step down? IMHO he must step down since the Constitution of the school must be followed. Like many others I find it very difficult to believe that if the Constitution was amended in the correct way in 2014 Muththu, Solomon and possibly other directors did not receive a copy of it. If they were provided a copy did they not read it or understand it? Another problem is the fact that Muthu refused to deliver a letter from staff to the board. My understanding is that he has not denied having the letter but did not “table” it. The letter was highly relevant to the subject of the meeting and the opinion of the staff was hidden. It would be interesting to know how many board meetings Muthu has attended and how often he has met the staff. There are in addition many other questionable decisions that somebody has made regarding the administration of Jaffna College. The board should make most of the decisions but in reality we may have had a one man show from the Chair/Manager.

    • 3
      0

      The issue is whether the election was constitutional.
      If it was not, knowingly or otherwise, there was a transgression.
      The decent thing to do would have been to step down when pointed out that there was transgression.

      • 1
        0

        SJ,
        ¤
        I am confused and amused. If the election was unconstitutional it is not valid and there is no need to step down. What if the amendment of the Constitution in 2014 was unconstitutional?

        • 0
          0

          LW
          It is safer to be amused I suppose.
          *
          The illegitimacy of an election could be (and is often) forgotten once the election is over.
          *
          There are two aspects to how the issue is addressed: (1) the institution itself declares the election as null and void and holds fresh elections; (2) the elected person acknowledges that the election was improper and stepping down.
          The first is an institutional responsibility, and the second a matter of personal integrity.
          Consider the prospect of neither happening.
          *
          As for the amendment of 2014, it is a matter for a constitutional court to rule.
          If it is unconstitutional, it will firstly be struck off the books. Whatever wrongs that occurred as a result could be put right where possible. Whatever is water under the bridge is water under the bridge. However, there are ways to compensate victims (individuals as well as institutions).
          *
          In the present situation, there could be a need to rectify or legitimize as necessary the decisions and actions that occurred as a result of the presence of the wrong representative.
          The point is to put things right get on with business than waste time over spilled milk.

          • 1
            0

            SJ,
            ¤
            I do not know what to think about this. There are many actors. Some are obvious others not. I feel bad for the students and staff who are going to suffer. Only a miracle can help to avoid multiple court cases that will take time. The students and staff do not have time since the school will soon not have any money.
            ¤
            What is going on in Uduvil? The school with the screaming beauties seems to be forgotten despite having the same problems while Jaffna College steals the show.

          • 0
            0

            LW
            I remember the acrimony about Uduvil. It probably faded because there is more at stake in Jaffna College.
            I doubt if there are simple answers to these questions, and CT is not the place to resolve such matters.
            The community itself needs to become more assertive.
            Do not despair, and keep fighting.
            Think of fora closer to the community.

            • 0
              0

              SJ,
              ¤
              I will consider joining a demonstration by Uduvil girls if invited.

  • 4
    1

    Dr. D. Thiagarajah,
    I have reliable information on your salary and the university studies of your child abroad. Can you please explain who financed the undergraduate studies of your daughter in Australia and is financing her Masters studies in Canada? Your cash salary is a mere rs 113,000. How did JDCSI with some thousands of members manage to buy you a car worth rs 9400,000? Can we be certain that your money, money of JDCSI, money of the two schools and Green Memorial Hospital are separated? Why have you never presented any accounts since you became the Bishop?
    Thank you.

    • 5
      0

      Jaffna Christians of the protestant variety are a funny sort of people. They are all involved in a parody of their professed religion. It is self-satirisation. It is mock religion.
      .
      The unfolding drama at Vaddukoddai is essentially about money, but using big words like Bishop, Diocese, Board, Trustees, etc. The above comment, if it is true, makes the underworld mafia look like Sunday school teachers. If this is not a hypocritical society, what is? Because after all the financial jiggery-pokery they go to church the next morning and recite the following beloved verses from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount.

      “Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Matt 6:28-29)
      .
      “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing” (Matt 6:25)
      .
      “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they” (Matt 6:26)

    • 0
      0

      Bloody whatever,

      This is quite unwanted cruel naming and shaming.
      .
      Do you not have confidence that those responsible (Trustees, the Board, Government) should be or would be capable of the necessary investigation? Would it not suffice to call on them to take action and investigate all relevant allegations.
      .
      If your implied and explicit allegations end up unsubstantiated, do you have any idea how it may perhaps inappropriately affect the daughter? How irresponsible can you get?
      .
      Frankly, your comment here reflects some personal vendetta rather than a public interest.

    • 0
      1

      I have relations with little money whose children are studying in the west, supported by other relations abroad.

      • 5
        0

        Ratnajeevan,

        You have written very sharp accounts about many other Bishops and their misdeeds including some Bishops of the Church of Ceylon. As a Christian intellectual based nowadays in Jaffna, is it correct for you to keep quiet when mega corruption and abuse of power is unfolding before your eyes? I know you are very critical of Rev Jeyanesan who tried to become the fourth Bishop of the JDCSI. There is no doubt that Bishop Thiagarajah is (or when the election was announced) a better candidate for that position. But should that make us turn a blind eye to the destruction Bishop Thiagarajah has been causing to Jaffna College and the Diocese for the past few years? Is it true that you supported his nomination to the Jaffna University Council? Very sad. Sumanthiran has failed us; please help us save the Diocese and the precious institutions that Christians in the North built with so much dedication and commitment.

      • 4
        0

        Dr Jeevan Hoole,
        ¤
        You have recently been honest as usual and admitted that the staff rep of Jaffna College Board and the former Provincial Minister of Education are your friends. I expect that you despite your friendship are able to admit that your friends might have been involved in acts that are questionable to say the least.
        ¤
        Are you hinting that relatives are and have been supporting the foreign studies of the daughter of the JDCSI Bishop? It is possible. It is also possible that she has received scholarships to study abroad. It is also possible that the Bishop and his wife are paid for being managers of the controversial schools and that he receives an allowance for being the Chairman of both Boards.
        ¤
        Have you read any of the open letters that a JDCSI reform group has sent to their Bishop? These letters are full of examples of alleged “bad things”. Even if only part of the accusations is true the Bishop is not clean. I leave it for others to decide.
        ¤
        You are an educated man of integrity. If you were faced with accusations like the Bishop would you not agree to quite simply request an audit of everything and share the results with the people who accuse you? I would. That leaves me and others with the question of why the Bishop instead of transparency chooses alternatives like going to court.

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