14 July, 2024


UGC Chairman De Silva Must Go!

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Invitations to Expatriates to Return

The President during the health ministry budget debate has invited our doctors who have migrated to the West to return and serve.

Recall that on 1 Sept. 2015 the President announced a special policy statement in parliament promising a red carpet welcome to us expatriates who return. This was on the heels of the 100-point program of the new government. Point 94 promised reinstatement to victimized persons who returned. I had to flee twice, in 2006 and 2011, over safety concerns.

I was very enthusiastic about the changes in the offing and wanted to support them. I was just short of 63 years of age in the US. There is no retirement age there but here it was 65 for academics. I felt my mite was necessary. I took two years’ leave of absence. I thought I could put in my two years remaining here at Jaffna’s Engineering Faculty which was struggling with lack of staff. The two years’ pay loss was nothing compared to the free education I had received here.

Second Grade People Hiring Third Grade People

Alas! In the words of Dr. Michael Nelson, a top Analyst for the US Government:

“First Grade people hire first grade people and surround themselves with intelligent people. Second grade people hire third grade people.”

My application to University of Jaffna for a junior position (Senior Lecturer) was rejected. In 2010, in the aftermath of the war, the UGC effected a policy of absorbing those who returned. But the long-term effect of second rate people hiring third rate people is that the third rate people now want no qualified people.

Clueless UGC Chairman

The UGC Chairman Mohan de Silva is responsible. His qualification for office is questionable. Despite the powers conferred on the UGC by the Universities Act to regulate the administration of universities and uphold academic standards, de Silva says in three separate affidavits in the bad English characterizing the deteriorating university standards,  “the Universities are separate legal entities and the UGC has not given power [sic.] to compel Higher Educational Institutions to do things by the Universities Act No. 16 of 1978.”

While hiding behind autonomy, when convenient, this autonomy is waived as when he forced the Open University VC to reduce tuition fees and when he advertised engineering vacancies for South Eastern University (SEUSL) in the Sunday Times. When I spoke to de Silva in Professor Carlo Fonseka’s presence, he was clueless about UGC Circulars and insisted that to be a professor one had to join as a lecturer, and there is no direct recruitment as professor.

SEUSL: Punishing Students to Safeguard Third Rate Academics

de Silva was defending asking a person who holds an Oxford DPhil and a professorial post abroad to come as a Senior Lecturer. This person had applied for the post of Professor responding to de Silva’s Sunday Times advertisement. He has authored many western textbooks and papers in far greater numbers than, I venture, any engineering professor here. Yet, he was asked to come for an interview for Senior Lecturer whereas he had responded to an advertisement for professor. He naturally refused. After turning him down, Senior Lecturers from other universities are now paid a fabulous bonus to come visiting, whereas this person would have commanded a lower salary and been a professor.

When students at SEUSL asked me to apply there because they had no one to teach electromagnetics, I declined saying I came back to live in Jaffna but would volunteer to come one day a week without pay and teach two courses. I communicated this to the Dean and VC through my former students who know them. But my offer was turned down. My volunteering would have interfered with paying friends to come as visitors with a hefty Rs. 150,000 a month bonus.

Unlawful Jaffna and Attorney General

The University of Jaffna to date has not fulfilled an order in 2010 to hire my wife (with a PhD degree under a Nobel Laureate) and me (with a higher doctorate). Its Selection Committees have incredibly found us unqualified although we both held professorships at a major US research university. Nor has it obeyed a directive made on 2 Feb. 2016 by the University Services Appeals Board (USAB) to pay me for the time I was VC-Jaffna and list me among past Vice Chancellors.

In the meantime, the Jaffna Council has objected to my application being rejected by the VC. It asked her to review the decision in July but she is stalling. The VC has disallowed questions from the Council, claiming that the Attorney General has ordered her not to discuss my case at the Council; even as she and the Attorney General make submissions to the USAB on behalf of the Council!

The Attorney General is behaving like a Shyster, ignoring that according to the Universities Act it is the Council that speaks for the University. Dr. Devansean Nesiah of the Council has queried the legitimacy of such submissions through a letter to the USAB. He has pointed out that the Universities Act in Article 28(2) states “The powers conferred on a University […] shall […], be exercised by its Council.”

How can the AG submit to court on behalf of the Council when the Council cannot know or discuss what is submitted on its behalf? The AG’s actions are contempt worthy of a Shyster.

UGC Ignoring President’s Letters and Promoting Theocracy

The Presidential Secretariat has written to the Minister of Higher Education to look into my reinstatement. He in turn has written to de Silva. The Secretariat has sent reminders thrice.

In an amicus curiae affidavit dated 12 Oct. 2016, Prof. Carlo Fonseka has informed the USAB that he inquired through Chandrika Kumaratunga and de Silva asking why Jaffna will not recruit my wife and me when there is such a dire shortage of staff. He states that two of the three reasons given to him were that 1) I have written against a revered iconic figure among Hindus, Arumuga Navalar, and that this makes me unwanted in Jaffna. I have questioned the myths making a national hero of a caste fanatic. What is unfortunate is that the UGC Chairman de Silva has made faith in false histories a requirement to teach engineering; and 2) Hindus seem to believe that as has happened from the very beginning, the University of Jaffna should not be headed by a non-Hindu. (My being listed as past VC would make me the only non-Hindu VC).

Previously when the Jaffna University Science Teachers’ Association pointed out recruitment violations by the VC, de Silva simply dismissed the accusations as a Christian Conspiracy when FUTA met him to ask for action. This time, out of sheer incompetence, de Silva put these in writing in his letter to Madam Kuramartunga. The UGC has refused my RTI Act request saying de Silva’s was a personal letter to Chandrika Kumaratunga although the matter was referred to him as Chairman.

When the UGC Chairman trots out these communalist claims as legitimate reasons in a secular university and legitimizes wild accusations of Christian conspiracies, he ceases to have any legitimacy as the upholder of sound university standards. When he disavows his powers to compel universities to be lawful and in fact endorses the unlawful acts of universities, it is time to remove him.

Trouble-making or Upholding the Law?

The third reason given to Carlo Fonseka is that I cause trouble. Yes, I cause trouble as I do now in exposing the communalism and ineptitude in our universities. The Institution of Electrical Electronic Engineers, the IEEE, is the largest professional organization worldwide. I was the first Sri Lankan to be made a Fellow for my contributions to the profession. It has a Code of Ethics which includes exposing corruption. Any trouble I have caused anywhere is in insisting on upholding the law.

President’s Responsibility

In the meantime, I have only nine more months to reach my Sri Lankan retirement age. I have wasted 18 months of valuable time when I could have usefully served at University of Jaffna and helped the students. I made that sacrifice happily, but now I ask, for what?

It is not enough for the President to announce sound policies. He must follow through with mechanisms to underwrite those policies by giving them teeth. He must insist that his appointee as UGC Chairman is competent and law abiding, and believes in the government’s policies of inter-communal reconciliation. The Attorney General must support the lawful directives of the President. Are these not what the promise of Good Governance is all about?

When the President gives teeth to his policies, I will wish him well and join him in asking our doctors abroad to start coming back.

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Latest comments

  • 5

    Dr. Hoole,
    Very Interesting. You should file an RTI request asking for a copy of the letter again after 04th February 2017, the day from which the Right to Information Act 12 of 2016 will be legally effective and everyone will be duty bound to follow it. If he continues to refuse, you can file an appeal against the decision, eventually to the independent RTI Commission which has the powers to determine. (as fara as I understand his attempt to hide behind the exemptions in the Act is childish and wouldn’t work with the Commission, which consist of a number of independent minded people.

    Read the RTI law carefully at.

    I think we should make a good use of this empowering law from 04 Feb onward, while the law lasts.

    • 15

      Dear Jinadasa Waduge,

      I am totally with you that every legitimate avenue should be pursued if there is suspicion of unfair treatment and discrimination that lead to refusal of Jeevan’s appointment. If that indeed is the case, I sincerely hope that Ratnajeevan gets the fairest of hearing.

      However, I must add my concern, if not disappointment, that in article after article, Jeevan only adds to the confusion and skepticism around the credibility of his claim rather than help allay them! Let me be specific.

      In the current article Ratnajeevan mentions that Carlo Fonseka was told there were three reasons for not appointing Jeevan, and Jeevan goes on to detail two of the reasons. Perhaps Jeevan can detail the third reason as well, to help us readers with a holistic picture rather than a partial story. Further, in that regard, perhaps Jeevan can also detail the reason for his expulsion from his previous senior Professor appointment at Peradeniya, especially because in a previous article it was mentioned that a faculty member from Peradeniya was part of the team responsible for turning down his appointment in Jaffna. If there was a serious enough reason why he was let go from Peradeniya, then certainly any possible relevance of that should not go unchecked.

      In addition, Jeevan’s seemingly altruistic position that “The two years’ pay loss was nothing compared to the free education I had received here” is not very convincing – it rather seems a mere convenient rhetoric. He obtained free education from ALL Sri Lankan tax payers, not just Jaffna tax payers. As such, if he is sincere in his statement, could he explain why he is tying himself to just Jaffna University, whereas his qualifications should rightly perhaps earn him an appointment that would be beneficial to a larger segment of the country’s population that shared in giving him the free education. As a bonus, there will not be the “Hindu” or “High caste Vellala” interference that he so holds responsible for obstructing his opportunity to serve his soil, whether be Jaffna or much wider!

      And as for the Hindu bashing that he has so religiously (no pun intended here!) pursued in the recent articles, I like to make two quick points.

      First, while now Jeevan vacillates between blaming the Hindu or Chaivite obstructionists (even going so far as to draw equivalence with BBS), and casteitic saboteurs (conveniently overlooking the fact that the caste issue is prevalent not merely among Hindus in Jaffna), in his previous articles he has equally vigorously held many other University and administrative persons as responsible for his difficulties in appointments and/or functioning within the Sri Lankan University system at large, way outside of Jaffna’s grasp. So, is Jeevan not merely scape-goating every possible “outside” participants, overlooking the possibility of his own shortcomings in creating this fiasco?

      Second, not unrelated though, relates to some civility, if not integrity, that is required of an academic mentor. It seems that Jeevan has rather unflatteringly, to say the least, described Hindu women’s gyrations at temple dances as reminding him of something quite primal and ugly – far too nauseating for me to repeat here. It may very well be true that when Jeevan looks at a picture of a lady delighting herself having (can I dare say licking?) a popsicle, Jeevan may have thoughts suggesting something quite ugly. Does he then have the right to candidly express his thoughts to that lady? To her spouse? To her family? Perhaps freedom of expression allows for that – I don’t know about the legality. But I am certain about the civility, the integrity and the maturity! Such an undue expression reflects the cad in Jeevan more than anything else. Jeevan can correct me – he can explain what academic curiosity of this esteemed intellectual necessitated his need to, not merely so closely observe and focus on the gyrations of the ladies, and that at a temple (not a nigh-club), but to go ahead and make his own interpretation, and make that interpretation public! Is that grounds enough for Hindu’s in general to take offense? Is that sufficient to undermine an otherwise worthy academic qualifications in appointment as a mentor? You be the judge.

      The view that a superior academic credentials evidenced by the degrees earned alone should be the ultimate deciding factor for an academic appointment is incorrect. If that was the case, what then is for instance the reason for an interview process? Appointing a person in a position to mentor students requires substantially more qualifications than mere academic skills!

      Finally, his concluding statement “When the President gives teeth to his policies, I will wish him well and join him in asking our doctors abroad to start coming back” is a joke on many counts. If Jeevan is sincere in his attributing Hindu and Vellala caste as the reason why his appointment was obstructed, what has that got to do with Diaspora doctors returning?! If he wants to hold the general political environment as being negative for opportunities of Diaspora to serve their country, then why does he not fight that battle forthrightly, and not scape-goat Hindus and Vellala High caste (just Hindus or both Hindus and Christians? – you tell me).

      How does this senior professor of research concoct these ridiculous correlations repeatedly, first “Jaffa VC must go” to help grade school students pass basic English tests, and now “UGC Chairman must go” so that Diaspora doctors can return?! Does humbug seem right here?

      • 1

        // then why does he not fight that battle forthrightly, and not scape-goat Hindus and Vellala //

        Come on, has he not given examples of rulings in his favour not being implemented?

        // described Hindu women’s gyrations at temple dances as reminding him //

        Was he not quoting an eminent anthropologist or was he making it up?

        // when Jeevan looks at a picture of a lady delighting herself having (can I dare say licking?) a popsicle, Jeevan may have thoughts suggesting something quite ugly.//

        Now, who is making a naughty suggestion?

      • 0

        “If there was a serious enough reason why he was let go from Peradeniya, then certainly any possible relevance of that should not go unchecked. “

        Simple. Prof. Hoole was appointed Vice Chancellor, Jaffna and he left Peradeniya. Then we all know what the “boys” planted inside by VP did to stop him. UGC minutes have the information.

        Dr. Savasegaram knows. Insinuations by a case of Education failed. Sava as it is clear now, should concentrate on improving his academic track record at least now and leave his sakuni job under the VC to to others. May be he will have no use for the VC and will stop overtime at Killinochchi.

      • 2

        Kumar R., You accuse Prof. hoole of giving only two of the reasons given by de Silva over why he cannot be employed. If you read on, you will see that Hoole does give the third reason.

        It shows a rush to judgement on your part. Every time Hoole writes something, you launch an ad hominem attack with a twist that is off the topic like here. You also imply he was sacked from Peradeniya. Almost everyone in this forum knows that he had to flee LTTE death threats (see Amnesty International reports of that time) while on leave from Peradeniya to serve as VC/Jaffna. He was vacated post for being away. What a twist you give this! It reveals your personal animosity and inclination to be untruthful.

        Till today I had an open mind as to who you are, despite some writing that you are Prof. Sivasegaram. Not any more. I know of only one person who is driven by intense jealousy, devilishness, deceitfulness and a twisted mind like you. That is Dr. Sivasegaram who is called “The Devil” by the academics of his generation at Peradeniya. How else do I explain your twist in saying Hoole gave only two reaons of three by the UGC chairman to say why he cannot be hired, and implying that Hoole hid the third? If I am wrong, then you are his clone. How else your twist on his vacation of post?

        With all your Marxism, can you not see the UGC Chair legitimizing the nonhiring of Hoole on the grounds that Christians cannot hold high positions in Jaffna University as wrong? Can you not see that refusing to list the only Christian who the USAB has ruled is entitled to be listed as a past VC is outright communalism?

        I am more sorry for you than angry. My Jaffna has to rise above this communalism and vindictiveness to rise like the Sphinx after the war. Please do not hinder that process by defending communlists on both sides of the divide and by being one.

        • 3


          Your cacophony of feigned rage is no less stupid than your escapist efforts to distract by condemning Sivasegaram – a twisted two- birds-in-one effort, if you will.

          Let me repeat – if you guys (Jeevan, you, Lingam, Sakuni, Sepala, late(?) Erasmus, Chundukulis, whoever) have legitimate, and convincing allegations against Sivasegram, VC or any other, go ahead and pursue that forthrightly. Sivasegaram has written explicitly, and I have written explicitly, and we both have requested CT to see if there is any way they can convince you of our independent identities. You guys continue to do this distraction, only because you have little else to offer.

          On my part, I can only apologize to Sivasegaram for the unfortunate inconvenience that you fellows irresponsibly load on his shoulders.

          Yes – I did miss the intentionally or otherwise distanced “third reason” in Jeevans article. On the other hand, don’t you think there seems to be a little more than what meets the eye in that “third reason?” What exactly is meant by “he gives trouble”. Could you or Jeevan expand on that a bit, especially in view of the more recent comments on this blog, such as that of Perinbam, Sinhala_Man, et al.

          An obvious question is why are so many people ganging up to find or even invent every possible excuse to deny Jeevan this appointment?

          Is it then also possible that the other two reasons (Navalar and non-Hindu issues) may also have been used as just more sellable cover to hide the real but tricky reason of “trouble maker”, the third one?! Give it a thought.

          In that respect, let me ask again – if Jeevan is such a hot-shot and denying him the position is the only obstacle keeping your revered “Jaffna Sphinx from rising”, and if as Jeevan claims his return to Sri Lanka is his patriotic pay back for his free education, why is Jeevan limiting himself to appointments at Jaffna University? Should he not seek opportunities in the larger academic sphere in the country which would be the fair thing to do given that his free education was funded not just by Jaffna man, but by every tax paying citizen, all the way down to Hambantota?!

      • 1

        In his long-winded obfuscation Kumar R writes:
        “If Jeevan is sincere in his attributing Hindu and Vellala caste as the reason why his appointment was obstructed, what has that got to do with Diaspora doctors returning?!”

        My reading of the article is that when Chandrika asked de Silva about why Prof. Hoole was not appointed, he asked VC Arasaratnam who told him that non-Hindus are not welcome at UofJ in high positions. de Silva then wrote to Chandrika as if this is a valid reason.

        Therefore it is not “Jeevan” who attributed his religion as the reason for his rejection. Moreover, he has never claimed any discrimination because of his caste

        Is all this miscommunication by Kumar R deliberate or is he so illiterate that he cannot read and understand? The connection to Diaspora doctors should be self-evident to anyone with minimal intelligence — the lack of commitment by the government to its word when grand invitations are issued by it!

    • 5

      Kumar R, BELOW, starts by stating that Prof. Hoole has discussed only two reasons given by Prof. Mohan de Silva, Chirman UGC. True it is that the THIRD reason follows only two paragraphs later, when he deals with this in the paragraph beginning:

      The third reason given to Carlo Fonseka is that I cause trouble. . . .”

      Perhaps he should have given it as cardinal numeral 3) right there and then have returned to it in the later paragraph. Is our discussion going to be as simplistic as this?

      Prof. Hoole has stated his case so clearly that ANY person really interested in finding out what’s been happening can understand. To me it seems that Prof. Hoole’s arguments are not being listened to because people today are not willing to read anything as clearly stated as this. He is talking about his own and his wife’s application, and when he states FACTS we dismiss them because they sound like boasting.

      He has been too direct in his assault on talking about unfair treatment. I’m sure that the UGC Chairman may have had nothing against Prof. Hoole to start with, but now he too would have got stubborn. And Prof. Hoole also comes through as being a stubborn man.

      In fact it looks as though Prof. Hoole is enjoying the fight in a strange way, which may have complex psychological reasons! However, it would do us all a lot of good if common sense prevails and our faith in the system is restored by giving him, and his wife, SOME honoured University work in keeping with their qualifications. That retirement age which is applicable within all of Sri Lankan academia is fast catching up on him, but his wife may be able to work for a few years more.

      As Lone wolf has said below, there ARE some people who know Jeevan Hoole to be an honest man, and he’s now one of the three people who constitute the Independent Elections Commission. Let us hope that he now begins to focus on the contribution that he can make there, and he is allowed to do that work in a “realistic way”.

      That last “realistic way” because “Thamilan” seems to be unaware that Prof. Hoole has been in Sri Lanka continuously for 18 months (bar an occasional trip abroad, like that to monitor the American Presidential Elections), and he has a right to be in his home town of Jaffna most of the time. Since the Elections Commission work is mostly in Colombo, realistic travelling and accommodation allowances must be paid.

      The stakes here are high. The Sinhalese and the Tamils of Sri Lanka seem not to be able to work together. Here is one Tamil who has no reservations about his being a Sri Lankan. Let him also be an unabashedly Jaffna man. One of our problems is that almost everybody wishes to be near Colombo. We must not allow any further ethnic conflicts to grow, nor should we act so as to justify the “Colombata peni, gamata kekiri” (i.e Capital city vs Rural hinterland) complexes.

      Tania seems to be taking aim at other people whom she doesn’t like; you are not helping the common cause by diluting the main arguments here.

      Lastly, Professor Samuel Ratnajeevan Herbert Hoole could help his own cause by being a little more diplomatic! He could avoid talking about certain subjects, for instance. There can be no doubt about the quality of the man:


      Wikipedia doesn’t just allow anybody to be put on its pages; compare with:


      If the identity of that guy puzzles you, he was a guy who should have been imprisoned for life for ethnic violence in 1983. If you were to look for this article later, it may have been deleted already. I’m not relying on this Wikipedia thing as something that will clinch the argument in favour of Prof. Hoole. It is just that it is easily understood.

      After all that has happened in this country, how can we possibly act like this?

      • 9


        //He could avoid talking about certain subjects, for instance//

        What subjects have you in mind as no go areas for Hoole? And for each one, please tell us why he should avoid them.

        As for giving him a job, well he was! Four/five years ago, UGC appointed him to coordinate setting up an Engineering Faculty at Jaffna. That was a fantastic opportunity to play a positive role which he handled very badly by picking a quarrel with a local gangster. That is where he demonstrated a total lack of diplomatic skills. Not when he speaks out against the dirt that we carry in our society in the name of culture.

        Sadly, Hoole is not alone. There are other younger people experiencing the same. When they touch on untouchable topics, the Jaffna establishment closes rank and shuns them.

        • 2

          R. M. Appuhamy, As I recall Prof. Hoole left because things were not progressing. The spat with Douglas would have helped him decide to leave. A carefully thought out plan for the faculty which he and a committee put together for the faculty was sabotaged. The other members of the committee, all senior Jaffna academics well disposed towards him, who had helped draft it, were blasted by VC Shanmugalingam. They immediately rewrote it as he wanted it using the erlier draft as a base, and submitted it as their own. That is a measure of how independent our senior academics are. Planning then used the new draft. Anything good from him would have been similarly rejected by Shanmugalingam. It was no go without any authority. There was no point in remaining.

          I once had access to Prof. Hoole’s full paper on his experience but now can see only an abstract online which is worth reading:

      • 5

        Dear Sinhala_Man,

        I appreciate your candid and insightful comments. Indeed it is the unmistakably self-elevating and irrelevant statements, and increasingly so, in Ratnajeevan’s articles that distracts from any cause he is attempting to pursue.

        Jeevan’s meek attempts at drawing somewhat distantly related issues along with inconsistent statements (especially for an intellectual) affects his credibility substantially.

        To cite an example, in a previous article superficially presented as congratulating two young researchers, he uses their finding of the declining performance of grade school students, and extends that to a farfetched “trickle down” argument to meet his personal goal of ousting the VC! I have no problems with him fighting to oust the VC or any other, but do it on their own merits and demerits. Don’t try to leverage a distant yet critical issue (need for prompt strengthening of grade school education, particularly in English) that only ends up distracting from the urgent need to solve the issue at hand.

        My point is “pick your fights, fight them forthrightly”, but don’t cloud your position with irrelevancies and incongruous positions, which to me seem like attempts at taking the uninitiated for a ride, as a few other PhD’s (Dr. DJ, Dr. RW, Dr. RN to name a few) have done in these columns!

  • 2

    I presume you are living abroad. Will you return to Sri Lanka if you are offered a job by the present government?

  • 2

    Dr Hoole seems like now you are in the right tract. You can not never come back to corruptive family and mafia run local Universities again by applying. See inside Universities it is rotten to death. At least try to clean Eng. faculties from fake IESL professors. Sri Lankan public University problems deeper than your analysis and discuss real problems in low quality local universities: You need to sack all fake profs and follow international criteria to appoint them: In order to be a real international professor your PhD from world top 100 University, minimum 20 articles in ISI/SCOPUS indexed journals, 10 text books with international publishers and three countries have to appoint you as a Visiting professor. But all these Sri Lankan Professors are jokers and more than 40% University Lecturers are relatives to each others and they give degrees to each other (Husband gives PhD to wife and girlfriend/mistress getting PG degree, sons, daughter and son-in law and daughter- in-law). MY3 clean University system and sack fake professors and University mafia system. Some Dept are family trees. Never allow any dept to issue first degree if you do not have sufficient number of PhDs in that dept. Take some Universities many Deans do not have PhDs. This is a recipe for disaster. Identify and transfer all family members work in same University/Dept/Faculty as Lecturers. Recheck how these all family members came to system and penalize the responsible. Sometime wife is writing articles putting husband’s name for articles and husband getting professorship without shame (what ethics) presenting these to promotions. Stop University teachers are doing local PhDs in same or other Universities. You know how people get Sri Lankan passport and B. Certificates and driving license. Same way Sri Lankan PhDs also can get. Today the most important thing is your PhD must come from accredited, ranking (at least 100) best University of the world to recognized your University basic products. Now see Sri Lankan local Universities are rotten to death. Somebody has to clean it.

    • 4


      “You need to sack all fake profs and follow international criteria to appoint them:”

      Let us be realistic and admit that very few qualified academics are willing to work in Sri Lanka and even less in the rural universities like Jaffna University.

  • 1

    Prof. Hoole: You say: “When the President gives teeth to his policies, I will wish him well and join in asking our doctors to start coming back”. With all due respect for your achievements in the academic field, sorry to say that you are far behind in thinking, asking and expecting what this President to do, viz “Giving teeth to his policies”. Anyway wish you Good Luck.

  • 5

    I am not surprised about the facts narrated by Professor Ratnajeevan Hoole.I have also faced similar outcomes. Besides holding a PhD (1988) and a Super Doctorate honor from the top most Australian University and having specialized more than 16 branches of science with dozens of publications & theses /dissertations, mastered in six Asian Languages besides English and French, I was offered a Senior Research Professorship in a Premier Institute at Colombo but with a very Meager salary even lower than an Assistant Lecturer ..eventually I could not afford to live in Colombo with that extremely poor salary..finally I gave up ..even thinking not to return back to Sri Lanka.Currently I am an Australian – the citizenship was granted to me against my off shore research contributions in 2004.I worked as Principal Investigator as well as Co-Investigator to many International Major Discovery projects in Australia & South Asia.I love to contribute my academic -research in Sri Lanka but systematically my applications were ignored and destroyed by the notorious academic mafia ..Sad state of affairs.Long ago a wise man told me that “honesty is an expensive gift so never expect that gift from cheap people”.

  • 16

    Appointing Hoole as professor in Jaffna would be like appointing Rev. Sumanarathna Thero as Sanganayake of Batticaloa.

    The President would agree.

    Any university teacher has to fit into the society served by that university – as far as traditions, religious
    practices/institutions, and legacies of previous leaders in social/political spheres, are concerned.
    If he/she has reservations about this, there is no need to express it in writing and speech.
    This is observed in the South.

    Hoole even wrote that Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan treated his English secretary, as his mistress.

    He thinks that Christian missionaries of yore who even baptised the Jaffna victims with their own names, are far superior than any other religious leaders – past & present, of North Lanka.

    In England, in the seventies, when Sri Lanka students addressed a professor as “Sir” – as is the custom in Sri Lanka, the old man turned round and said, “Why do you “Sir” me? I have not yet been knighted”.

    • 11

      Totally agree with you. In fact, I consider it a waste of time even responding to him. He keeps provoking until people loose their cool and react. Some time back he was going after the Methodist missionary Late Rev. E.J. Robisonson, who was a contemporary of Percival and Navalar for praising Navalar, his character and knowledge. Incidentally the Rev. E.J.Robinson was the author of “Hindu Pastors” in 1867.

      You do not find other SL Tamils with higher doctorates (DSc.) even once mention their higher doctorate for publicity or that it deserves media attention. Do a google search and count the number of times this guy keeps mentioning it.

      To my knowledge this Uncle Tom has never seriously questioned the African Blood money that Christian Philanthropists and American/Western Universities prospered on or the Slave Trade that drove the American Founding Fathers and their role in various American educational institutes (let alone the missionaries). Given that he and his family have worked and lived there as well as held positions there; an honest man who is not a trouble maker would have definitely raised these and worked on bringing this to light during his stay there.

      Uncle Tom must best realise that this is not the 19th or 18th century. We are more than capable of holding our own (thanks in no small measure to the likes of Navalar).

      • 1

        “You do not find other SL Tamils with higher doctorates (DSc.) even once mention their higher doctorate for publicity or that it deserves media attention.”

        I am curious. Who are these SL Tamils with higher doctorates? Are you speaking of the Jaffna Honourary doctorates (9 in one year) or the rare earned doctorates like Prof. Hoole’s?

        • 9

          Professor Sotheeswaran with a DSc from Hull is silently serving Sri Lanka and its students in Chemistry.
          Professor B. Thuraisingham is a FIEEE as well as D.Eng
          Professor APS Selvadurai is a very decorated and renowned academic with a DSc.

          Two of them were awarded DScs in 1987; much before Hoole. There may be others with higher doctorates I am unaware of; and there are those without higher doctorates who have an equal or even higher profile in their respective fields.

          The fact that I have to mention/name them shows that they feel it is not newsworthy by itself.

          • 3

            Prof. S Mahalingam in 1969 (London)
            Prof. MUS Sultanbawa in 1978 (London)

            Neither made a fuss about his DSc.

            நிறைகுடம் தளம்பாது (Water in a full pot wobbles not)

        • 2

          Curious Tamil

          “Are you speaking of the Jaffna Honourary doctorates (9 in one year) or the rare earned doctorates like Prof. Hoole’s?”

          They are not from Jaffna nor from Colombo, but from deep South, Dr Mahinda Rajapakse and Dr Gotabhaya Rajapakse.

          And one more person by the name of Dr Mervyn Silva PhD.

    • 1

      // He thinks that Christian missionaries of yore who even baptised the Jaffna victims with their own names, are far superior//

      Your ability to read his mind is amazing! Has he actually said this — or you think he thinks…

      // Hoole even wrote that Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan treated his English secretary, as his mistress.//

      Where exactly did he write that? I would love to check his source because it sounds like an exciting story.

  • 1

    Dr. Hoole is a person of realistic. The corrupt and hangering on to get higher posts in violation of natural justice and law will like him. Let him expose more of the corruption in the higher positions.

    I like you so much

  • 1

    Like Agnos said sometime ago, find a way to work outside the university system, Sir.

  • 5

    Dr.Raghavan: You say: “I was offered a Senior Research Professorship…..but with a very Meager salary even lower than an Assistant Lecturer”. I am unable to comprehend this “offer of salary even lower than an Assistant Lecturer”. I am aware, there is an “organizational structure” and a related “remuneration package” to fit in with Human Resource requirements. So based on that understanding, am I to accept that a “Senior Research Professor” is a LESSER position than a “Assistant Lecturer”?. To me it is a very “Unusual” situation. Secondly, at your level, you would have done a “Research” into this Institute and learned its “Structure”; the “Levels of Placements” (in the Human Resource structure) “The Remuneration Structure” etc. before accepting the job offer. That is not “rocket science”; but as a matter of fact, any person would do that before responding to a vacancy advertisement/ a job offer and at a formal interview. So could you please, explain this matter purely to enable me to update my understanding the structure and working of this particular Institution. Thank you.

    • 3

      Not only once three times they have offered me very lower level salary -although the last offer was Senior Research Professor.First I was not aware about the fact but then I met a Professor in Zoology at Colombo University, she said that this salary is far more realistic than you deserve.In trues sense she said that we are getting Rs.150,000/ and they have offered you just Rs.57,000/ a consolidated amount .Even the head of the Institution (PGIAR) told me after going through your credentials and capabilities the salary is very meager and you won’t be able to survive.I have preserved those letters still in my file.Eventually I was advised by the Seniors of many institutions that once you accept this lower salary …then there won’t be any hike or increment.That is the way the academia works in this country.I have written to many higher authorities but no response.Now I am decided to stay away once for all.Remember this was not an advertised post , this was offered to me against my credentials.No foreign expert will come and work under these circumstances.I never asked any abnormal salary – I mean inflated amount , I just asked that my salary should be par with the Sri Lankans.Ni ill feelings

    • 5

      Douglas — it is truly not rocket science.

      Most of a university lecturer’s salary in Sri Lanka is structured as allowances. People on contract do not get these allowances. As a result a person at a higher rank on contract may often draw lesss as total emoluments than a person at a lower rank on regular permanent appointment with all allowances.

  • 8

    Dear readers !
    Have a look at this article written by the same HOOLE!
    You will definitely realize why people hate him so much and didn’t give an opportunity at all..I think if these kind of stupid idiots come to teach our students definitely we all will turn into some psychopaths soon.. It’s good that he was rejected!!!
    We don’t want caste discrimination anymore in our society!!! And you are worst than a low caste person you assumed in your article! Such a Fool!!!

  • 6

    Poor Professor,

    Why are you so desperate for a job in Srilanka?..

    You should have invested in Shares , Real estate and Cash. ( Bonds are in the shits after the 30 year Bull run ) .

    You are in the age where you do not need to even write job applications, let alone apply for jobs and get humiliated by those whom you call second and third graders.

    No offence. You can’t be in Suren Surendran’s London Club..

    See how they come and go to enjoy Yahapalanaya..

    Foreign Money is going into building Luxury Pads even in Balapiatiya.

    Asking USD 244 thou for a Two Bedder with a guaranteed rental return of 6 percent per annum.

    What an investment for the GTF .

    And they are in good company too with the Yahapalana convert, the ex Tiger Killer and now UNP Field Marshall , retired of course who is from next door which is Ambalangoda.

    • 0


      Sorry for the delay.

      I don’t think that Dr Jeevan Hoole is after money.

      “Foreign Money is going into building Luxury Pads even in Balapiatiya.”

      Is this the money that arrives without any questions regarding where it comes from?

      “Asking USD 244 thou for a Two Bedder with a guaranteed rental return of 6 percent per annum.”

      If I had 244000 USD (about 37 million rupees) legal money abroad the last place I would choose for investment would be a flat in Sri Lanka with a rental income of 6% in rupees. There are many safer and easier investments abroad that are likely to pay more than 6% even in the future like REITS and blue chip shares. Even thru a SIA there is a currency risk, risk of never having your capital back and possible tax problems investing in SL.

      The IRD and Central Bank FIU should study where the money for these properties comes from. Who can pay a monthly rent of about rs 183000? Must be the same people buying the Land Cruiser permits from the MPs.

      “What an investment for the GTF .”

      Very few of them have 244000 USD to invest.

  • 7

    “The University of Jaffna to date has not fulfilled an order in 2010 to hire my wife “

    “why Jaffna will not recruit my wife and me “

    Dear Hoole you may have a case ….but you lost it mate

  • 1

    Dr Jeevan Hoole,

    Merry Christmas!

    Please do not give up.

    “The President during the health ministry budget debate has invited our doctors who have migrated to the West to return and serve.”

    The president, FM Ravi K and many others including Northern provincial politicians have been calling for the educated diaspora and especially their money to return during some years.

    I have read that 1% of NHS doctors in the UK are from Sri Lanka. How many have returned?

  • 2

    Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole,

    Please make your contributions at Election Commision, during this term. I addition get involved in organizing a high caliber ‘Think Tank’ for the north. Itshoud be development oriented and transcend religious and caste issues.

    Such a ‘Think Tank’ could of immense benefit to the people, in the face of the mediocrity that pervades all aspects of societal life and hold the politicians and bureaucrats to account.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 6

      I hope not “Think Tanks” comprising ‘development-oriented’ intellectuals who wisely keep mum on issues like pollution of well water, unlawful and environmentally damaging fishing in the North by alien trawler owners, prefab steel cages for the dispossessed and the now abandoned coal power plant in Sampur, and the landless in the North.
      Let us not blame only politicians and bureaucrats.

      • 2


        You unfortunately left out the Northern “Think-Tank” research institution headed by a PhD & Rhode Scholar Muthukrishna that recently unearthed great insights on the evidence of (or rather the lack-there-of) on religious conversions between 1980 and 2014! The esteemed researcher single handedly “Eurekad” that by excel-tables comparing the two end-years, totally oblivious to all other events in the intervening years.

        I am curious as to why the DSc-learned researcher stayed absolutely mum on that effort.

        I am doubly curious on the nature and source of funding (seemingly a new source for the institute that had remained abjectly starved of any funding since MR regime had got all what they had paid for) for that research that so “overwhelmingly” proved the complete absence of any conversions – so much so that Muthukrishna, the research lead could heroically claim monopoly on advising how Hindu and Muslim leadership should govern themselves, for their own good! Bravo!

  • 0

    Dr Rajasingham Narenthiran,


    It is the need of the hour.

    It should not be a mere talk shop,but an development oriented professional body.

    I am for it and ready to support any initiative in launching
    an active Think Tank to operate from Jaffna.

    shall we meet in Jaffna early in the new year?

    • 0

      Sri-Krish ,

      Thanks. why not?

      Let us find a way to contact each other directly.


  • 2

    Dr. Raghavan: Thank you for the response. Since you say it, I believe it. Yet, you having not gone through a selection process for a “Vacancy” that the “Cadre” of the “Institution” provides for, this offer could have been “outside” the normal requirements. In regard to that “Designation” viz. “Senior Research Professor”, to me is an ambiguity. Having lived in the west for better part of my life, these “Designations” mean nothing; because the remuneration is more often than not related to the “task performed”; “responsibility” and “accountability” and also “how well performance is evaluated”. So, I am not much speaking of those matters in relation to Sri Lankan standards and you know it better. Anyway, Thank you again.

    • 0

      Dear Douglas Thanks for your understanding Not only in Sri Lanka the entire South Asian countries give preference to their own .Foreign experts are not generally preferred due to some local political compulsions (except in Cricket) .For a long time, India never encouraged the hiring of foreign nationals but for the past 10 yrs or so the entire scenario has been changed.Now Indian government has set up certain rules to employ the foreigners.Firstly the institution which hires the overseas expert should proof that there is an unavailability of a local person for the position and a minimum a wage structure is US$3000 per month for the foreign expert .During my tenure at Australian University, my senior colleague pointed out that there were four Post Doctoral fellows drawing 4 times more salary than the VC.Dr.David said that these are exceptional cases and they have proved their worth through new break through in Medical Sciences.In my case it was not an advertised post, I was just invited by them as there was and still no qualified person with these specializations in fact my fields is available in Sri Lanka.The verbal understanding was that my salary will be par with othersBut what it hurt me the most was no reply from higher authorities …way back in 2002 when I wrote to former honorable President of India , Prof Abdul Kalam regarding an academic issue, he promptly responded me within 24 hours and settled the issue.When you invite a Foreign expert, make sure that he or she should be given a decent salary at least par with the locals.What we require in Sri Lanka is employment of right person at right place and make sure the accountability of performance.Wish you all a Merry X’mas and a successful 2017.

  • 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/

  • 3

    Adding to Anthony’s comment, I fully endorse that Sivasegaram and the VC are truly dishonest. I am from the immediate family of a Council member and had access to the Council documents for the meeting of last week (22 Dec. I think). That member is furious and feels helpless and has encouraged me to write this because he fears that in this computer age anything he writes himself will be traced to him and that he will be punished in some way.

    Here is what I gather happened. Previously on 15 July the Council rejected the finding of Prof. Hoole’s Selection Committee for not giving reasons for rejecting him for the post of Senior Lacturer Grade I. The reasons they gave were unacceptable to the Council. The Selection Committee was therefore asked to meet again and justify not hiring Prof. Hoole. Apparently they met only in December, after 5 months. Obviously it was to delay a decision to wait for Prof. Hoole to reach his retirement age in case the Council again refused to accept the Selection Committee’s decision.

    This time they gave totally new reasons which would likely be rejected because they were never mentioned in July. The reasons were:

    1) Prof. Hoole had not applied through his employer, Michigan State University. The rule about applying through the current employer is because state institutions do not take employees of other state institutions without their permission. Howevr, even if the employer forwards the application saying “Will not be released” it only means that previous service will not be counted. Employers do not own us and we are free to walk away. If the employer forwards the application saying he will be released if selected, it means previous service there will count. This rule does not apply to applicants from foreign institutions. It has never been applied at University of Jaffna to the many who have joined from abroad. The Selection Committee knows it. They were simply cooking up.
    2) Prof. Hoole they say said he has not taught electrical engineering for some years and therefore cannot teach electrical engineering any more! I doubt that he ever said this. It is an astounding claim given the fact he has authored several textbooks in electromagnetic, one as recently as in 2013. I have checked with his doctoral students (two from University of Jaffna) who have been in his electrical engineering classes at Michigan State University covering electromagnetics, circuits, and electronics (digital and analog). Although doctoral students they had to do this because they had not done these courses before or had to prepare for the doctoral qualifying exam which is based on undergraduate courses. Prof. Hoole was in charge of the PhD qualifying exam on these topics in different years. Even if it is true that Prof. Hoole said something untrue to undermine himself (an impossibility), may I ask Prof. Sivasegaram how he qualified as professor at Peradeniya after being stuck in London as a permanent postdoc to his supervisor for 15 long years. May I ask Prof. Vasanthi Arasaratnam whether after 6 years of administration when she soon finishes her two terms as an administrator, she would be unqualified to return to teaching biochemistry.

    May I also ask Prof. Hoole’s student Dr. Thiruvaran (a member of the Selection Committee as Head of Electrical) who was helped by Prof. Hoole to go abroad for his graduate studies, why he lied like this about his guru by signing the cooked-up new Selection Committee minute? Does he not know that these two new reasons are absolutely false? His action is Guru Ninjai (offence against one’s teacher) – A mahapaathakam (Great Sin) in Hindu Tharmam!

    The Council members are intelligent people who would have questioned the new reasoning and would reject it. So what to do? The VC said again that the Attorney General has disallowed a discussion at the Council!

    The big question now is this: with no discussion allowed, has the Council accepted the Selection Committee decision not to recruit Prof. Hoole? Will the VC now minute that the Council accepted the decision?

    • 4

      Ah, so this is an on-going story which we should book-mark to follow even after it disappears from the HOME display of CT.

      This is of relevance to all Sri Lankans, not just to Jaffna Uni students!

  • 10

    Prof. Hoole,

    You have titled your opinion like shops advertise discounted/promotional sales ‘… MUST GO’. Who are you to tell the UGC Chairman Must Go? The people now after reading some of your writings in CT might question your eligibility to be a good academic in the Sri Lankan university system although you have some qualifications from some universities!It seems that you claim you are more qualified than many others. Your paper qualifications alone do not make you eligible to be a Professor or Senior Lecturer in Sri Lankan University system!.

    • 1

      “Your paper qualifications alone do not make you eligible to be a Professor or Senior Lecturer in Sri Lankan University system!.”

      Section 3/ Professorial application is National Development. It is his non paper publishing works. He was a memeber UGC in chargr of IT and English. HE was Chair IEEE conference. Who else has these?

      If not paper qualifications what else? Pandang and treachery? and falsification of qualifications?

      How wicked can people get. Your name itself is fake to discredit the Muslim community. Show us your CV. Show us VC’s CV. Then your lie will be openly seen by all for CT published our Professor Hoole’ CV.

      I am horrified that such concentrated dark wickedness exists in the heart of any people who claim to high religion and culture.

      Evil can only beget more evil. The community is already threatened.

    • 2

      “Who are you to tell the UGC Chairman Must Go? ?”

      A citizen of the country with a vote. Therefore a voice. This is a democracy.

      You write from the dark ages.

  • 7

    Dear MYM Siddeek,

    I was also astonished to see the title of the article; but in the circumstances it looks as though it was the only thing the now poor Professor could do!

  • 7

    If Prof Hoole is interested in serving Srilanka has he made any effort to secure employment in any other Universities in Srilanka if not why not?

    • 6


      Precisely the question! I have asked this of him and his several apple-polishers multiple times and they all go mum rather abruptly.

      If Ratnajeevan is such a god-send to the math/engineering future of the next generation, and his patriotism is such that, as he claims, he is willing to forego two years of foreign employment just so as to repay for the free education he had in Sri Lanka, why then does he limit his availability to just Jaffna? Why not apply to other institutions or perhaps even start one on his own, if he is that capable? After all, his free education was not funded just by the Jaffna man, but rather by all Sri Lankans, even as far as in Hambantota!

  • 1

    It has been suggested by one Ben that I am the only person repeatedly shouting about my D.Sc. degree. Perhaps so and with good cause. The ancient Nannool says one may boast when one in insulted in a forum (avai). How many other D.Sc. degree holders are told they are not qualified? I think I am the only one.

    Peradeniya (with the exception of a few like Sivasegaram) recognized my training in computing and asked me to found the B.Sc. Eng. Computer Science programme. However, Tamil people in Jaffna said I am not qualified in computer science. They persisted even after the USAB ruled in 2006 that I should be appointed as Professor of Computer Science. Now Sivasegaram, Arasaratnam and others (including my student Thiruvaran whom I carefully advised and nurtured on the request of common relations throughout his career in the electrical department at Peradeniya and helped obtain a full scholarship) say I am not qualified. They say I am not qualified to teach even electrical engineering. The absurdity of their position is underscored by my having a D.Sc. (Eng.) degree. Just because Ben et al. try to insult me, I am not going to stop saying their position is made all the more absurd because I have a higher doctorate and I am a Fellow of the IEEE.

    It has also been asked whether I have applied to other places for a professorship. I have had invitations to apply but I have not. For a Tamil from Jaffna at my age, it is natural to want to spend time in Jaffna (Deracinated expatriates will never understand this). When there are vacancies in Jaffna for which I am amply qualified (by my D.Sc. and Fellow grade in the IEEE I repeat), why would I want to live elsewhere? It is my right.

    Let me repeat, I am the first Sri Lankan to be invited to be a Fellow of the IEEE. My D.Sc.is from London, the university that pioneered and defined the D.Sc. and D.Litt. degrees as the first British research degrees (the D.Littl. followed the D.Sc. a few years later). London set rigorous examination standards to be followed by other universities, even Oxford and Cambridge, several decades later.

    The degree is now highly abused by universities which award the degree with much lower standards, and by holders of honourary higher doctorates unethically dropping the words Honoris Causa after the degree (an example is one of the persons cited by Ben as having a D.Sc.) and calling themselves Dr.

    London therefore stopped awarding the D.Sc. and D.Litt. degrees in the year 2001 as a result of this abuse. The UK Council for Graduate Education in its 2008 report bemoaned “the general lack of consensus across the sector in terms of understanding the nature of Higher Doctorate awards, at least in terms of common nomenclature and their place in relation to other kinds and levels of doctorate.” Oxford thereafter reviewed its higher doctorates and called for tighter standards.

    As far as I know, I am the only Sri Lankan holding the prestigious, pioneer London higher doctorate in science. (There may be one other who likely is no longer a Sri Lankan and was punished for plagiarism by his university and who like me holds the D.Sc. (Eng.) Degree. Prof. K.M. de Silva who is also a Sri Lankan holds London’s earned D.Litt. degree).

    It is better like this, with the prestigious London D.Sc. and D.Litt. degrees no longer awarded, than have them abused and confused with honourary degrees and earned degrees with significantly lower standards.

    I proudly repeat again, that I hold London’s earned D.Sc. (Eng.) degree.

    • 0

      “Nannool says one may boast when one in insulted in a forum (avai).”

      Hoole Sir,

      I think this may be from Naaladiyar, for I have heard Mr. Shanmugaratnam, Mechanical Engineering, Peradeniya once quote the verse in defense of you.

      “When insulted in an avai, it is correct for the wise man to stand in the middle of the avai and defend himself.”

      Also it is your reviler we need to be shocked at:

      A man has gone before the assembly that had gathered
      together, and condemning another has reviled him. Now,
      it is… the reviler who is to be wondered
      at…. (for abuse is his very life) – Naaladiyar

      Sir, you do not have to defend yourself before your reviler. All the Electrical and Computer Engineers in Sri Lanka and abroad know your worth.

      Jaffna is a frog in the well.

  • 0

    If deceased D.Sc. London awardees are to be included, a more complete list is

    Dr. Sultan Bawa (Chemistry), Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy (Geology), Dr. Dissanayake (Medicine), Dr. Devanathan (Chemistry), Dr. A.C.J. Eliezer (Mathematics), Dr. Kandiah (Chemistry), Dr. S. Mahalingam (Engineering), and Dr. A.J. Wilson (Economics).

    I have used the prefix Dr. to indicate that they already had a doctorate, the junior doctorate. Technically they all become Mr. after the award of the higher doctorate.

    Dr. K.M. de Silva has D.Litt. and is with us and in Sri Lanka. Dr. Jay Gunasekera has a D.Sc. London degree and was at University of Ohio when he was found guilty of plagiarism in 2006 and had some punishments imposed (of which only some were overturned by court in 2010).

  • 0

    Prof. Hoole,

    “Dr. Jay Gunasekera has a D.Sc. London degree and was at University of Ohio when he was found guilty of plagiarism in 2006…”

    My understanding is that Dr. Gunasekara was charged with insufficient faculty oversight of his Master’s students who actually plagiarized stuff in their theses. It was considered serious enough to take away his ‘distinguished professor’ title and to bar him from advising graduate students, but the allegation wasn’t that Dr.G himself plagiarized someone’s work.

    That is quite a big difference, and you should correct it unless you have a published reference to the contrary.

    • 1

      To Agnos:

      When we work as professors, our work and our students’ work are a joint effort. We publish the work of our students jointly in journals. We carefully read them and approve their theses and they become products of our own research enterprise. Thus, their theses count for our own promotions and raises. The moment he signed approving the copied theses, he took responsibility for and ownership of his students’ theses. To argue that students copied (and not he) would evade his own responsibility in claiming to produce joint research.

      Here is what HigherEd News of 22 Feb. 2008 says:
      “Fallout continues from a plagiarism saga at Ohio University that has clouded the reputation of the university’s engineering college. Earlier this month, Roderick J. McDavis, Ohio’s president, for the first time in the institution’s history rescinded the title of “distinguished professor,” a high academic honor that had been given to engineering professor Jay S. Gunasekera years earlier for his research, teaching and service.”

      He was also removed from his department headship, had a named professorship taken away, and removal of tenure was also considered. Later the students too had their degrees withdrawn by the university.

      Such heavy penalties are not for being careless alone. They were for plagiarim by implication although guilty of plagiarism might not have been explictly stated. Jay Gunasekere, according to inquiry reports, approved several tens of theses over years where students had copied. The allegation was that he allowed his graduate students to “routinely copy others for years” after he started at Ohio. It was also said by David Drabold, a distinguished professor of physics who voted in favor of removing the title, that he was swayed by the examples of unoriginal work from theses that were approved by Gunasekera. One is not heavily punished only for poor supervision as claimed by Agnos.

      When one signs off on another’s work, claiming to have supervised the original resarch, is that not also a form of plagarism? Copied theses were passed off as the products of a research group led by Gunasekera when he signed off on them.

      I became entangled when the Wall Street Journal contacted me because I am from Sri Lanka and had two of the same degrees he had, and interviewed me for its report for well over an hour, asking me how engineering projects are supervised. I gave the most sympathetic interpretation I could. (I recall saying that when we work together as a group, two different students think it is their own, although often it is for the supervisor to keep demarcations carefully to ensure that two students do not report the same work. It turns out that the copying was outright from past students).

      However, I was embarrassed when Jay G. claimed in his defence, it was reported, that “as an international professor [he had taught in Australia and Sri Lanka it was said] he didn’t understand the prevailing American citation standards.”

      Many including myself lost all sympathy because these standards have been universal for long. To save himself Gunasekera made it sound as if all of us in Sri Lanka are unfamiliar with plagarism standards – or even worse – copy. The Wall Street Journal did not print what I said because I too had lost credibility – I suppose as a result of his claim that it is all right in Sri Lanka and Australia to copy other people’s work without acknowledgement.

      • 0


        I agree that it wasn’t just carelessness; professors are supposed to sign a document attesting that they have read the student’s work carefully, etc.
        Also agree that Dr.G’s claim that he didn’t understand the citation standard is a laughable defense that put professors who studied in SL, UK and Australia in a negative light.

        Still, there is no suggestion that he knowingly encouraged that practice by students; it is more like he simply signed on to the theses without reading or supervising carefully because he had a heavy load, had no time to read, and wanted the easy way out, etc. I had heard there was an Indian professor at the same university who had those same plagiarism issues with theses by his students.

  • 0

    I agree that JS Gunasekera himself did not plagiarise, but his carelessness was too serious to be overlooked.

    Here I know sad situations where people who demand high moral standards for academics have for personal reasons rushed to defend plagiarists.

  • 0

    Prof. with D.Sc., (Eng, Lond), FIEEE, returned expatriate (exiled)

    Only those who have these titles have the right to caste stones.

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