The Jaffna University Science Teachers Association (JUSTA) has called upon the University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman to desist from delaying the holding of an impartial inquiry into the issues within the University any longer, if the establishment is to serve its academic purpose.
Releasing a statement in response to the letter sent by Jaffna University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Professor Vasanthy Arasaratnam to the Higher Education Ministry Secretary concerning the issues highlighted by JUSTA in their report titled ‘Discriminating against Excellence’, the academics have pointed out that the VC has only engaged in a clever word-play to reject the allegations that have been leveled at the university administration particularly concerning rampant favoritism in awarding appointments.
The JUSTA report titled ‘Discriminating against excellence’, the academics noted ‘blatant and endemic’ abuse across several university departments and units in the selection of academic and non-academic staff.
Prof Arasaratnam however has rejected the allegations stating they have always selected the most suitable candidates for each position by evaluating them with an objective marking scheme and by following procedure recommended by the UGC.
But JUSTA has pointed out that the UGC circular 935 that the VC has repeatedly referred to, in her response to the Secretary, has in fact been subverted to advance blatant favoritism.
“We urge an inquiry into our charges as promised by the UGC Chairman and it should no longer be delayed,” the academics have remarked while adding they are prepared to lead evidence at an impartial inquiry.
We publish below the JUSTA observations in full;
Observations by the JUSTA Subcommittee for Academic Integrity to the Jaffna University Vice Chancellor’s Response to our Summary of ‘Discriminating against Excellence’
We respond in two parts to the Vice Chancellor’s response to the Summary of JUSTA’s report ‘Discriminating against Excellence’, which she sent to the Secretary, Ministry of Higher Education (20 Aug. 2014). Part I seeks to show that UGC Circular 935 governing selections is essentially fair in its intentions, and how the University Administration in Jaffna has subverted it to advance blatant favouritism. Part II deals with the cases the Vice Chancellor purported to answer, and shows that they fully support our contentions of systematic abuse. In the Conclusion, we urge that if the University is to serve its academic purpose, the impartial inquiry into our charges promised by the UGC Chairman in The Island (31st July 2014) should no longer be delayed.
Part I: The Slippery Road of Subjectivity in Academic Selections
The Introduction and Conclusion of the Vice Chancellor’s response to the Summary of JUSTA’s report ‘Discriminating against Excellence’, mainly assert that applicants to academic positions are evaluated using an objective marking scheme. For this purpose, the Vice Chancellor’s letter refers to Commission Circular 935 and the marking scheme she had used during selections. However, the Commission Circular 935 does not advocate such a marking scheme. The following points clarify this.
In the second paragraph of the Introduction in the Vice Chancellor’s response, reference is made to a certain part of Commission Circular 935. Vice Chancellor’s says:
“Further, Commission Circular 935 states that if the Selection Committee is satisfied with the performance of the candidate/candidates, they are appointed as Lecturer (probationary) depending on the availability of the cadre vacancies.”
She then proceeds to describe the marking scheme used to ‘identify the most suitable person’.
The second paragraph of the Commission Circular 935 states its purpose:
‘… the Commission … decided to relax the requirement of one year experience specified in the schemes of recruitment and also to introduce the following provisions only in place of one year experience as indicated above’.
The next paragraph describes the intended change:
‘All candidates as specified in the scheme of recruitment i.e. Category (1) first and then category (2) and so on, be summoned for the interview and that they are required to make a presentation before the Selection Committee in order to prove their teaching ability as Lecturer (Probationary)’.
Hence the ‘performance’ referred to by the Vice Chancellor predominantly means the ‘presentation’ mentioned above. However, the Commission Circular, which also uses ‘performance’, clearly states:
‘If the Selection Committee is not satisfied with the performance of the candidate/candidates, but otherwise well qualified, such candidate/candidates be appointed as Temporary Lecturer/Lecturers for a period of one year and at the end of such period they may be appointed as Lecturer (Probationary) having subjected them for another interview and presentation’.
Vice Chancellor’s letter has conveniently avoided the sentence above that follows her quoted text.
Hence it is very clear that a well-qualified candidate should always be selected and if the performance of the well qualified candidate is not satisfactory to the Selection Committee, the well qualified candidate should be appointed on a temporary basis and be given another chance the next year.
Hence the selection should not be based on the ‘Presentation’ or ‘Performance’. However, the Vice Chancellor states that, out of 100, 50 marks are assigned for qualification, 20 for Presentation Skill and Subject knowledge and 30 for the Vision, Creativity, Research interest and overall performance. From what we have pointed out, making the latter 50 marks based on subjective assessments in effect the determining factor in selections is a violation of Commission Circular 935.
In the 50 marks for qualification, a First Class gets all – 50 marks – and a Second Class Upper Division gets 40. The following questions arise from this marking scheme.
- A special degree student gets a class based on his/her performance evaluated in several different ways through courses aggregating to 120 credits. In a modest way, one can assume that 40 three credit courses aggregate to these 120 credits. Each three credit course is tested by two half an hour In-course Assessments and one three hour end of course examination (ECE). Hence the student would have spent 160 hours in the examination hall. Each ECE answer script is marked by two qualified examiners. This may be called objective marking. In the course of a brief interview that lasts about 15 minutes, how can 20 marks for Presentation skill and subject knowledge be given objectively by members of the Selection Board where most members may not be experts in subject knowledge?
- A First Class candidate may have a GPA of 3.70 and a Second Class Upper Division candidate, a GPA of 3.69. In certain cases it is not uncommon for a First Class candidate to have a GPA of3.90 and the Second Class Upper Division candidate 3.30. The differences in GPA between the two cases are 0.01 and 0.60; by a factor of nearly 60% in the crucial GPA league of 3.0 to 4.0. Could giving 50 marks for the First Class and 40 marks for the Second Upper in the two, not uncommon, cases above be called ‘objective marking’?
- How could vision and creativity be marked for part of 30 marks in a short interview objectively? (In several candidates selected over others significantly higher in the merit list, there is no objective evidence of vision or creativity.)
- After giving marks to all these categories how could part of 30 marks be awarded separately to overall performance (which obviously will include all these categories) objectively?
The introduction of research as a criterion for young applicants to Lecturer (Probationary), who at best did a peripheral undergraduate project, and have no proper research qualification, is inappropriate. Circular 721 specifies only ‘a Degree with specialization in the relevant subject’. As will be seen, the use of ‘research’ in the ‘objective scheme’ opens the door to much abuse (see Zoology, Computer Science and Management in Part II). The cases answered by the VC in Part II below demonstrate how the ‘objecive scheme’she advocates is designed to drop unquestionably well-qualified candidates and make very dubious selections after crediting the chosen with spurious qualifications or attributes.
The reality behind the pretensions to fairness in the scheme the Vice Chancellor advocates is seen in the fact that out of 20 percent given to presentation skill and subject knowledge (two that are quite separate), it does not say how the total is divided between the two. The same goes for the 30 percent given to Vision, Creativity, Research Interest and Overall Performance – all awarded mainly by non-experts. When a patently flawed system is advanced, its potential for burgeoning miscarriage is evidenced in the scheme the VC circulated for observations by the deans in March 2014 (Annexure I) – one that might be more suited for careers on the stage.
Part II: Cases Addressed in the VC’s Response to the Summary of Discriminating Against Excellence
In her response Vice Chancellor states that the selected Second Class (Upper Division) candidate with GPA of 3.44 ‘performed well in her presentation and at overall performance and proved her subject knowledge’. It would thus appear that the Zoology selection was guided by the scheme Vice Chancellor advances as accepted by the University (Annexure I of her response), but ‘unfortunately’ not the Science Faculty!
It has been made clear in Part I that even if performance is unsatisfactory the well qualified candidate should be selected as a temporary Lecturer and after one year should be given another chance to prove the presentation skill. Hence according to Vice Chancellor’s own statement the appointment violates Commission Circular 935.
Apparently Vice Chancellor is also trying to imply that the rejected First Class candidate with GPA 3.72 did not prove her subject knowledge. This candidate had proved her subject knowledge by answering questions in examination halls for more than one hundred hours where each answer script was marked by two qualified examiners. In the case of Special Degree Courses the Second Examiner is from abroad. The Head of the Department who was a member of the Selection Board would also have marked some of these papers.
At the Selection Board it is likely that it is chiefly the Head of the Department who was competent in subject knowledge to evaluate the candidate. In this particular case the Senate Nominee too was an expert. Rejecting the subject knowledge that was certified in the above manner in a short interview where only one or two persons were experts in the subject is not simply questionable, but points to very deep problems in the system.
Moreover, Nilani Kanesharatnam, the candidate who was rejected, not only topped the list with a GPA of 3.72, but after being a demonstrator was selected as a temporary lecturer and has a considerable output of research publications. In the case of the selected candidate, the University of Peradeniya did not extend her stay after she served as demonstrator for a year, has little evidence of research and had decided to go into school teaching rather than do a higher degree. She had evidently scored above ten percentage points more than Nilani in the 50 percent given for subject knowledge, presentation skill, vision, creativity, research interest and overall performance at the interview; all decided in the course of 15 minutes. Is that even remotely credible? The selected candidate’s contact with research was essentially her undergraduate project, but Nilani had six published papers on work done with her teacher Dr. T. Eswaramohan, which counted, if at all, very little. But in Computer Science, the Vice Chancellor touts research to justify rejecting young first classes in order to appoint a middle-aged 2nd Upper as Probationary Lecturer.
The Vice Chancellor has admitted being guided by the presentation and subject knowledge etc. of the selected candidate tested at the interview. On the contrary, Nilani testifies that in the considerable time she spent at the interview, her presentation was stopped quite soon after it started and she was not asked one question about subject knowledge in Zoology. Most of the time was spent on the Vice Chancellor’s questions relating to Biochemistry and her research.
b. Computer Science
Here the Vice Chancellor states that ‘four candidates appeared for the interview held on 08.05.2012, but the Selection Committee [was] disappointed with the performance of the candidates, especially on their subject knowledge and the presentation skill’. By the selection board dismissing them collectively in such derisive terms, they were told effectively not to apply again, and they did not when the position was advertised the next year.
It has already been stated in Commission Circular 935 that presentation skill or performance cannot contribute to selection. Here again the Vice Chancellor is going the same way she went in the Zoology case.
Further, among these four candidates, three First Class candidates (one with GPA as high as 3.80) are from the Computer Science Department of Jaffna University. In the Selection Board the Head of Computer Science was the main person tasked to evaluate the subject knowledge of candidates. If he rejects his own First Class students attributing to them unsatisfactory subject knowledge, where he would himself have set question papers and marked them, then he has to answer deeper and troubling questions about his teaching, examination and evaluation methods. Would the department have any rationale for burdening the taxpayer with its continued existence?
The ‘more suitable person’ the Vice Chancellor says was identified and selected the following year is a Second Class Upper Division candidate who graduated more than ten years ago. He was working as an Assistant Network Manager at the Computer Unit of the University. In 2012, that is 10 years after his graduation, he completed an M.Sc in Advanced Computing from the University of Colombo. In attributing to us ‘the selected person has no academic attainment’, the Vice Chancellor has distorted what we said. We stated he didn’t have any marked academic attainment pointing to his M.Sc obtained after more than 10 years of graduation.
The selected candidate who graduated 12 years back with a Second Class Upper Division was evaluated by the Selection Board and was found to be ‘more suitable’ and four recent First Classes from the same University with GPA as high as 3.80 were rejected owing to the Selection Committee being disappointed with their performance especially on their subject knowledge and presentation skill. These judgments were passed by Selection Committees after interviewing the candidates for a short time of about 15 minutes where only one member possessed expertise in the subject. This raises many more questions. What evidence has the selected candidate shown of ‘vision, creativity and research interest’? Although his schedule gives little indication of what can strictly be called research rather than project work, the VC relies on his Masters’ Degree and ‘good research record’. Like most Masters’ degrees, his had a research component, or what is more modestly termed a project component. If he has a marked aptitude for research, the right thing, as we said, is for him to do a fully fledged research degree and come in as Senior Lecturer.
The danger in the VC’s ‘objective’ scheme, as we pointed out, is that ‘research’ can be talked up or talked down (as in Nilani’s case) because there is no definitive standard at this junior level. The proper use of the position of Probationary Lecturer is to invest in a young person whose degree performance shows promise. Here, research has been used spuriously to sneak in a middle-aged favourite into a slot that should have gone to a young first class, among the first classes shooed off.
Our issue concerned two persons who applied for positions as Senior Lecturer Grade I (SLGI) in Civil Engineering. The one recruited, with a Ph.D from Moratuwa, as pointed out in our full report, was appointed in contravention of the scheme of recruitment, which required from him six years of service after his PhD (his MSc in Roorkee was from July 1992-December 1993) and there is no record of a senate evaluation committee (UGC Circulars 721-10c and 166-2&3). We would like to be assured that the UGC consented to this departure, including that of having a Senate nominee from another university instead of from its own Senate (Circular 166-7(2e)), in writing, as required by Section 2 Circular 166, so that we may rest in that assurance that the bad decisions were taken by a Selection Committee with the authority to take such decisions. The rejected candidate, Dr. Sahayam, satisfies all the requirements for SLGI and has three refereed publications whereas the selected candidate (subsequently made Acting Head of Civil Engineering) had none. We pointed to the absurdity of this Acting Head, whose qualifications for SLGI are disputable being on the last selection board, which dismissed Sahayam who applied for the same grade on the grounds that his ‘subject knowledge, teaching skill, research ability and overall performance are not satisfactory’.
In her response the Vice Chancellor has drawn on the authority of Prof. S.B. Weerakoon (the Senate nominee from Peradeniya) as having ‘specifically criticised the subject knowledge of the candidates’. (There was only one candidate for Senior Lecturer Grade I in Civil Engineering, though the Vice Chancellor has repeatedly used the plural.) To dismiss Dr. Sahayam as out of touch and very poor in presentation shows sheer bias, when he has about the same seniority as the other candidate selected for Senior Lecturer Grade I and has been constantly teaching.
According to Dr. Sahayam, at the first interview for the post in April 2013, Prof. Weerakoon asked why he had not come for the earlier interview for the position in November 2012 (where the present Acting Head was selected), to which he had responded that though on the lookout, he had not seen the post advertised. Prof. Weerakoon then looked at the Vice Chancellor. She averted his gaze and diverted the topic. At the next interview for the position in May 2014, Prof. Weerakoon queried Dr. Sahayam’s first degree, whether it was of three years duration or four. Dr. Sahayam responded that he was following his degree at Moratuwa University and owing to the 1983 communal violence, moved to India, where he got a year’s exemption and finished the degree at the University of Madras in 3 years (4 years including one in Moratuwa). The matter was apparently cleared up. Beyond this Prof. Weerakoon asked no significant question, while one council nominee questioned him on corrosion.
Avoiding the issue of the deficient view of selection committees towards Dr. Sahayam in comparison with the candidate who now functions as Acting Head of Civil Engineering, the Vice Chancellor misleadingly refers to having recruited a Ph.D from Japan of whom she speaks highly, alluding implicitly to training in an industrially advanced nation as a mark of quality. But then why dismiss Dr. Sahayam who worked for his Ph.D for five years in Queen’s University, Canada, doing courses and a qualifying examination that is designed to add breadth, as having poor subject knowledge? In contrast a Moratuwa PhD is far less demanding. We have no issue with the Ph.D from Japan, who did not compete for Senior Lecturer Grade I. Our contention is that Dr. Sahayam was not treated with the fairness owed to an applicant.
d. Sociology: The Vice Chancellor claims (as does the University web site) that the department runs two different special degree programmes, one in Sociology and the other in Anthropology, and the University declined to take Dr. Siddharthan Maunaguru, a 1st Class in Sociology from Peradeniya and a Ph.D in Anthropology from Johns Hopkins University, because the Head of Sociology and Dean of Arts ‘did not consider the Postgraduate Degree of an applicant in Anthropology as relevant to Sociology’ and that Sociology required a postgraduate qualification ‘purely in Sociology’. This is not true.
In fact the Head of Sociology did consider Anthropology as being a subject relevant to Sociology and had wanted the candidate interviewed. It was improper for the Administration to suppress Dr. Maunaguru’s application – a matter that is for the selection board to decide.
We held that there was no practical basis to separate Sociology from Anthropology and ‘purity’ fits in absurdly here. The story of the Department of Sociology (not Sociology and Anthropology as it should have been if the two were considered separate) sheds much light on the matter. It is not as though the Department is so well staffed to despise a Ph.D in Anthropology from Johns Hopkins University. The Department has one Ph.D from Jaffna (with a Bachelor’s in Education) and four others with Masters’ degrees. When the Special Degree in Anthropology was conducted, the students were taught by Sociology staff. The Special Degree course in Anthropology was abandoned about ten years ago owing to lack of staff and one of the special degree holders in Anthropology from Jaffna recruited to the staff, is now doing a Ph.D in Anthropology in India. The reasons for suppressing the application of Dr. Maunaguru, does little credit to the Department, considering that there is a gap in Anthropology which it presumes to teach and Maunaguru’s first degree enables him to teach Sociology as well.
We have also pointed out in the full report that Paramsothy Thanges, a 1st Class in Sociology from Peradeniya with presently an MA from East London University where he is proceeding for his Ph.D was twice dropped by the department, which is in need of well-qualified academics. The second time, in May 2012, he was refused a postponement of the interview (which was granted to a Category 2 candidate in Law), which Thanges sought on the valid grounds that he had to receive his Sri Lankan passport that had gone to the British Home Office for visa extension.
e. English Language Teaching: The Vice Chancellor claims that the candidate Mr. Thiruvarangan, with a 1st Class in English Literature from Peradeniya, never requested an online interview. We attach his letter to the Vice Chancellor of 12th October 2011 (Annexure II), hand delivered to the Registrar by Mr. N. Sivakaran, requesting an online interview at the scheduled time on 19th October. Thereafter he did not ask for online interviews. He had already served the University as temporary lecturer in English Literature for 1 ½ years and he could not apply for permanency because there were only two cadre positions for Literature. His second ELTC interview was fixed for 17th April 2012. Thiruvarangan asked for a postponement not to June (as the VC says), till after 20th of May, by when he would be available in Jaffna, after finishing his academic commitments in the USA. In his email of 30th December 2011 to the Vice Chancellor (not 05.04.2014 as the Vice Chancellor claims), he nowhere said in this, or any other communication, that if he is selected he would assume duty ‘only in 2015’. While citing the urgency for holding this interview as scheduled, although there were no Category 1 candidates present, Category 2 candidates were interviewed on 15th May and one was selected. Selection for probationary lecturer in law was conducted in parallell. Again two Category 2 candidates were called, and because one of them (the one selected) was following a course in India, the interview was postponed to 24th May, by when Thiruvarangan too was available in Jaffna. The Vice Chancellor does not explain why the privilege of postponement given to a Category 2 candidate was denied to Thiruvarangan, a Category 1 candidate.
f. Financial Management: We demonstrate clearly in our main report that while Miss. T. Ravivathani who topped the batch for BBA in Financial Management and was twice selected as Temporary Lecturer, the one selected was pushed up over one higher in the order of merit to become temporary lecturer the second time Ravivathani was selected, and was then pushed up to probationary lecturer over Ravivathani. The schedule contained false information exaggerating the selected candidate’s teaching experience.
We pointed out that the schedule failed to flag Ravivathani’s winning the Securities and Exchange Commission Gold Medal. The VC claimed (see Zoology) that ‘no description of every awards are generally mentioned in the schedule’ (sic); but when and why are they mentioned? We pointed out in our report that the schedule of the selected candidate in Human Resources Management (HRM) credited him with the ‘Best Article Award, Management Studies, University of Jaffna’, an attribution that carries no weight. While for another rejected candidate Miss. Nadarasa who had topped the HRM batch in 2012 and had won the award for best performance in HRM, this was kept out of the schedule which gave an artificial boost to the selected candidate. Miss. Nadarasa had earlier been denied a temporary lecturership paving the way to keeping her out. The Supreme Court has given leave to proceed on Ravivathani’s Fundamental Rights Appeal concerning the appointment.
g. Commerce: The Vice Chancellor completely skirted the question of the recruitment of a 2nd Upper from the 2012 batch with GPA 3.19 (who used to teach at the tutory, which the Dean has strong connection) and a 2nd Upper from 2000 with no evidence of academic activity in the past 14 years, while rejecting 1st Classes with GPA 3.55 and above. Instead, she indulges in a rhetorical outburst in defence of suppressing the applications of BBA graduates who answered the advertisement for Commerce: “If the argument of the JUSTA is correct then we have to call all B.A. Degree holders who specialised in Geography or Tamil or any arts subjects for each and every discipline in the Faculty of Arts (sic).” The regulations specify that all Category1 applicants from relevant disciplines should be summoned for the interview, and suppressing their applications is grossly improper.
The close relationship between BBA and Commerce contrasts sharply with that between, say, Arts disciplines Geography, History and Tamil Studies; while, depending on the need, Sanskrit may be relevant to Hindu Civilization. Mostly the same topics are taught in Commerce and BBA and BBA students are taught by degree holders in Commerce – e.g. Mrs. Mahendran Aloysius and Rathiranee Yogendraraja, which demonstrates the closeness of the disciplines.
Three BBA 1st Class graduates applied when Commerce was advertised in 2013. They were Miss. Ravivathani Thuraisingam, Miss. Dushyanthini Nadaraja and Miss. Kalavathy Thurairajah. Their applications were handed over to SAR Academic, but received no response. The VC claimed in her response that ‘there was no candidate applied with GPA 3.63’ (sic). In fact Ravivathani had this GPA. It would appear that BBAs with good grades were kept out to make the recruitment of low-performing favourites for Commerce easier. Here too we have an example of spurious qualifications in the schedule to smoothen the way for the selected candidate with GPA 3.19: “Google scholar citations – 10, Researchgate research score 2.20, Best paper award”
h. Sports Science
The simple answer the Vice Chancellor gives the issue is – no applicant under Category 1, applicants under Category 3 were found to be unsuitable and no selection was made. This is an attempt to cover tons of dirt with a small brush.
The main points in this case are:
- Why was the First Class Masters’ candidate not informed in time for the interview in April 2013 and not given a chance to prepare her presentation? If this was found at the last minute why wasn’t the interview postponed instead of giving the First Class candidate only a few minutes to prepare? In this situation how was the Second Class candidate selected?
- Why was the Second Class candidate not selected in the first interview in March 2012 given a one year temporary appointment by the Vice Chancellor when the academic year was about to end?
- Why was the Second Class above rejected with the rest as ‘presentation skills, subject knowledge and performance’ unsatisfactory’ selected at a subsequent interviewin April 2013, but again dropped after the First Class candidate made a complaint, and not selected at the third interview in October 2013? How does the Vice Chancellor explain her role as Chair at all three selection boards above?
- No person competent in Sports Science was present at any one of the selection boards above.
i. Non-Academic Appointments: Our full Report addresses the matter clearly and we cannot add anything to it. Questions about how the Council could decide that procedures were correctly followed in the selections, could on the basis of a spurious letter from a ministry official, defer appointmentss of selectees for a month, forget them altogether and interview a fresh list, or how selections could be made and passed by the Council before the closing date of applications, after interviews held in record time (within 48 hours of receiving a new list), special interviews to absentees the following day and appointments in absentia – concessions routinely denied to well-qualified academics – have none been answered. How can the Council, Ministry and the UGC support a system of appointments where all citizens cannot apply and only party suspporters of the ruling party can?
The foregoing demonstrates that we had raised poignant issues dealing with the academic future of the University. In every instance the Vice Chancellor has distorted and reframed the issues so that she could waffle out of them. When not being economical with the truth and making outright misrepresentations claiming that we are arguing for interviewing Tamil, Geography and miscellaneous Arts graduates for any discipline in the Faculty of Arts, she has made puzzling claims such as the candidate selected for Zoology, though about the lowest in the merit list, ‘proved her subject knowledge [at the interview]…and was identified as the most suitable person’. How vindictive the system is, is seen in the fact that the leading candidate, who was dropped for Zoology, was prevented from facing the Fisheries interview by importuning the Head of Fisheries who wanted her interviewed. Given how the system works, and the fear of displeasing the Vice Chancellor, unanimity at selection boards is a sign of deep sickness. How can an administrative head who functions in this manner and makes so many language mistakes in her report, presume to pass strong adverse judgments on the presentation skills and subject knowledge of applicants?
On the subject of pre-council meetings we stand by what we said, that there have been pre-council meetings of external members presided over by a government politician before council meetings. We said in our letter to the UGC Chairman, who pledged to have an impartial inquiry if our report is sent to her, that some external members are bound to speak the truth on inquiry if secrecy is assured. The Vice Chancellor’s attempt to discredit the JUSTA by claiming that a Science Professor, who was a candidate at the Vice Chancellor’s election (and lost to her) is an active member of JUSTA, is deplorable. He is not a member of the sub-committee although a member of the Union. What we assert is that the Vice Chancellor conferred with the political leader at his office on 7th March 2014, the eve of the VC’s election, shortly after he had presided over a pre-council meeting.
There are too many momentous issues involved for the academic future of the University, and we cannot go on playing word games over the claims in our report. We demand the inquiry the UGC Chairman promised, and as we said in our letter to the Chairman (Annexure III), JUSTA is prepared to lead evidence at an impartial inquiry.
 The Subcommittee for Academic Integrity was appointed by the general body of the Jaffna University Science Teachers’ Association