18 October, 2017

VC Election In Jaffna: Will The North’s Wilted Intellectual Life Bloom Once More?

Colombo Telegraph reliably learns of moves to suppress the application of Prof. Sam Thiagalingam, the sole external candidate for the post of Vice Chancellor at the University of Jaffna. Prof. Thiagalingam, whose application was posted in the US on 27th December and received on 17th January, a day after the deadline, is an eminent scholar in Biomedical Sciences. An alumnus of the University of Jaffna, he is currently teaching in the School of Medicine in Boston University, USA. Our inquiries reveal that the present administration of the University of Jaffna and one or more internal members of the University Council, who are also running for the post of Vice Chancellor, were behind moves to scuttle his application.

Prof. Sam Thiagalingam

In separate letters sent to the Vice Chancellor and officers of the University and members of the Council, the University of Jaffna Teachers’ Association (UJTA) and Jaffna University Science Teachers’ Association (JUSTA) note that there were strong indications that Prof. Thiagalingam’s application could be rejected on spurious reasons as the fortuitous postal delay. The two university teachers’ associations have also requested the Council to declare itself on Prof. Thiagalingam’s application without prolonging the uncertainty.

The two unions point out that the appointment of a vice chancellor is so important that the University appointed a Search Committee of senior academics to caste its net worldwide to find candidates with high academic attainment for the position. Academics have also pointed to the Search Committee as part of the web of malfeasance, given that its search failed to turn up any distinguished candidate and, besides, it was chaired by a dean whose husband is an internal candidate for the position. It was, the teachers’ unions point out, simply ‘our good fortune’ that Prof. Thiagalingam came to know of this need. Further, the Council, when it met on 28th January, was misled from the chair by legal advice, reportedly solicited by phone ex parte, that Prof. Thiagalingam’s application should be rejected on account of the delay in its receipt. Further uncertainty over Prof. Thiagalingam’s candidacy will be seen by the larger community as a conspiracy to withhold the quality it expects from the Institution.

The UJTA’s letter ends with an appeal to the Council to consider the application of Prof. Thiagalingam so that that University community can assure the people of the North repeatedly deprived of the services of persons of high moral and intellectual standing that the future of higher education in the region is in safer and better hands.

In the 1990s, the University became in effect a fiefdom wedged between the conflicting demands of parties to the war. Academics learnt to live in their own small world, scarred by its stifling internal power politics. This transmuted into a form of xenophobia and systematic exclusion of talent from outside who would challenge atrophied local norms. The war ended and with it one form of patronage. But the leaders of the fiefdom were inventive enough to secure new patrons in the EPDP and, with it, the existing hierarchy with a new populist line advancing a huge dose of religion. The concomitant attack on secularism results in unwritten rules for exclusion in hiring of academics. Both the authorities in Colombo and the Tamils’ elected leaders acted as though they were bent on keeping the moribund norms intact, regardless of their cost to quality.

As Jaffna University Science Teachers’ Association (JUSTA) indicates, the norms were seen in the 2014 VC election, where internal power brokers backing a second term for the Vice Chancellor, worked intimately with political bosses in the EPDP who exercised the whip, and with near total success determined how the three votes of each council member were cast. The current VC got 96 percent approval instead of the expected 100. The Dean of Arts who was suspected to have broken ranks was given a torrid time.

Four of the five deans contesting now were patronized by the outgoing VC and three of them were active power brokers in fixing the 2014 election. This time they have to undercut one another, but are united with the VC’s backing in keeping the strong outside candidate out. Given their past record, they would stoop however low, the teachers say, to keep Prof. Thiagalingam out. The Vice Chancellor had supported them, sowing confusion with pretended legal advice.

JUSTA’s letter to the Council is significant given its struggle with the University administration since 2014 against rank favoritism and abuse in recruitment that has lowered standards. It demanded fair and transparent processes and practices in the recruitment of academic and non-academic staff to the University of Jaffna. JUSTA investigated a number of detailed cases of alleged discrimination against well-qualified candidates who applied for academic positions at the University of Jaffna and submitted its findings to the public via the media and the relevant authorities including the University Grants Commission and elected regional representatives, and the new Council members who were appointed following the regime change in 2015.

JUSTA notes that although there was a change of regime in the country, there was none in the University. It also states that the old regime by showering its patronage, and punishing those who did not toe its line, was successfully reasserting itself and that the unions and academic staff were cowed by the vindictiveness of this disposition.

Both unions in their advocacy have given vent to protest that was long stifled. Several academics who shun power games allege that some of the deans well placed in the contest have connived at shaping the corrupt system and have acted with considerable impunity. They complain of deans who keep accomplished senior applicants out, have doctored marks to keep down promising students and have used junior staff for domestic and menial labour at their homes.

Highlighting the importance of finding early remedies to the deterioration the University has been facing over the past several years, JUSTA’s letter ends with the remark “[t]hree years more of the present would find us in an irremediable situation”. With the election for the University’s new Vice Chancellor imminent, all eyes are now on the University Council and how its members are going to act on Prof. Sam Thiagalingam’s application.

To read the letters of UJTA and JUSTA click: UJTA’s letter to the Vice Chancellor and Members of the Council and  JUSTA’s letter to the Chairperson and the Members of the Council

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Latest comments

  • 6
    1

    If there is an irregularity in the election procedure either way, accepting of rejecting a late application, the Council will be in deep trouble.

    Let us not speculate and sincerely hope that things are done according to rules and laid down procedure so that the election will be legally valid.
    If there is any wrongdoing, there should be legal means to address it.

  • 10
    1

    I smell a rat in the naming of the chair of the Search Committee, but without naming other members.
    It is either a cooked-up story or a distortion of a fact.

    Anyone can be in a committee to look for eligible persons. But one identifying eligible persons and reporting to the Council is another job.
    The reluctance of the source(s) identifying the “Chairman” to name other members makes the story very suspect.

    I think that this thread has been used not just to argue the case why a late application should be entertained but also to attack certain candidates and conduct campaigns in bad taste in support of one or two.

    The damage has been done, but the source of the story and the person who named the alleged “Chairman” of the said “Committee” should come with the full list of members and functions of the “Committee”, with his/her source– either a responsible individual or a valid document.

    I can only say that information reported here on the UoJ Council thus far has not only been selective but also distorted.

    • 5
      6

      //The reluctance of the source(s) identifying the “Chairman” to name other members makes the story very suspect.//

      Why?

      It is entirely possible for someone, say a construction worker peeping through a window at meetings of sorts, to know who was in the driving seat without knowledge of the full set of the remaining participants.

      Union objections regarding conflict of interest is still valid, is it not?

      Please clarify.

    • 7
      3

      I said what I said because people have been named, in ways that create suspicion.
      Your guess is that a construction worker who did not even know what the meeting was about gave the information to the source.
      Did he not say how many heads were there? One? Five? Fifteen? Five hundred?

      Give us another one, just like the other one– you!

      If you want to retort please do by all means. But it may be wise to think before you say something.

      • 2
        1

        If someone from UofJ management can categorically state that the spouse of one of the candidates was not involved in the search process, then the matter is settled. Otherwise, it stinks.

        • 1
          1

          I say Spike,
          Free yourself of the stench of suspicion by asking your construction worker mate to get you access to the papers.

    • 4
      3

      SJ,

      “If there is an irregularity in the election procedure either way, accepting of rejecting a late application, the Council will be in deep trouble.”

      I do not understand your comment. Do you think it is legally invalid to accept Prof. Thiagalingam’s application? Then, as Sepala mentioned, can’t the Council re-advertise the position? It is absolutely clear that Prof. Thiagalingam’s application reached the University a day after the deadline for reasons beyond his control.

      “Anyone can be in a committee to look for eligible persons.” – How? When Prof (Mrs) Mikunthan knew for sure that her husband was going to apply she should have stepped down from the Search Committee. Do you think her husband would have kept his decision to apply for VC’s position a secret from her.

      “I think that this thread has been used not just to argue the case why a late application should be entertained but also to attack certain candidates and conduct campaigns in bad taste in support of one or two.”

      Is it wrong to expose the corrupt practices of some members of the University of Jaffna? After all, the election of VC is connected to the education of a lot of people. Why can’t the candidates or others refute the claims made here about candidates like Srisatkunarajah and Mikunthan?

      Since you say that the information presented here is selective and distorted, it is important that you state why you disagree with what has been written here. Any reasons?

    • 4
      2

      I smell a rat in in SJ’s comments. It seems that the VC’s alsation dog is trying to guard one of her disciple.

  • 5
    1

    SJ,

    Since you allude to the law, the VC did make legal claims at the Council on 28th January.

    1. Thiyagalingam has not applied through the head of the institution since he is from outside the UoJ
    2. He has not given his citizenship

    The application form does not ask for citizenship and 1 does not apply to overseas applicants. The University made itself a laughing stock at a judicial hearing by using it to turn down another overseas applicant.
    Then Sivasegaram gave the VC the main pretext for dropping Thiyagalingam. He said there are legally acceptable reasons to reject the application. The VC then cited Shantha Abimanasingam’s legal advice over the phone that the late application received after the closing date cannot be accepted. Is this that is not written and argued out a legal opinion? There was no legal discussion at the Council. The VC wrapped it up on a vague note by saying that the ‘other’ applications would be sent to council members. The council members are not clear that any decision was made. But only the other five applicants have been listed to give short talks just before the VC election on the 26th.
    The mystery is that six applicants, including Thiyagalingam, have been listed on the evaluation committee schedule signed unanimously by V. Tharmaratnam (Chairman), S. Sivasegaram and R. Ravirajan. What was the legal or procedural basis for excluding Thiyagalingam?

    Could you explain how Sivasegaram signed the schedule which made Thiyagalingam a candidate and later cited unspecified legal reasons for rejecting him? Would he have signed the schedule if the VC had warned him in advance? What is the legal remedy in court cases that go on for several years?

    One hopes all legal advice above did not come from Abimanasingam.

    • 2
      1

      Running Commentary,

      “The mystery is that six applicants, including Thiyagalingam, have been listed on the evaluation committee schedule signed unanimously by V. Tharmaratnam (Chairman), S. Sivasegaram and R. Ravirajan.”

      Is the R. Ravirajan the surgeon Raviraj Dean of Medicine who is himself one of the VC candidates? Can a candidate serve on the evaluation committee without a conflict of interest?

      Are there no clear rules or is it just that the rules are not followed?

      • 1
        0

        This is Ravirajan, a professor of physics. The candidate is Dr Raviraj of the Medical Faculty.

        • 1
          0

          Singham,

          “This is Ravirajan, a professor of physics.”

          Thank you for your correction. My hasty assumption was luckily wrong.

          Less fortunate is the fact that I assumed that a VC candidate might be evaluating himself and other candidates in Jaffna.

          Do the members of the council really not know when is the dead line for an application despite their background and not having been born yesterday? There must be a written rule that must be followed in all the universities.

          If even part of the accusations I have read here about three VC candidates are true the enemies of a respectable mostly Tamil university in Jaffna must be smiling.

          If our politicians allow this situation to continue they are stupid and not interested in the well being of Tamils in the future. This is hardly a surprise.

          If the staff and students allow the behavior of the three “bad apple” candidates described here they are very afraid and not capable of independent thinking. How about clear strong demands to clean the university backed by strikes and media attention? These students are supposed to be the most talented we have!

          Is there any hope of a better future?

          Feeling disgusted I rest my case.

    • 0
      1

      Now I would like to hear SJ’s response to this.

      • 0
        1

        N
        I will not respond to this as it is my turn to laugh aloud.
        I like some privacy to do it.

  • 3
    0

    Whoa! This article presents JU as some sort of Freemasonry rather than a congregation of academics.

    Intriguing though that it took 21 days for the Professor’s application to reach Sri Lanka. Did he use the Pony Express? I would have invested in a speedier delivery service If I was really serious.

    • 1
      0

      Spring KoHa: It is also possible that the package arrived earlier, but stayed on someone’s table and surfaced a day after the closing date, is it not? One cannot be sure without looking at delivery records of the postal services.

      • 0
        0

        I say Pee Cee
        This is Pink Panther stuff.

        You have a real gem with your hidden package thesis, far more intellectual than the “It is entirely possible for someone, say a construction worker peeping through a window…” by— who was it —Spike(?).

        Give us some more.
        I am just beginning to enjoy the fun.

      • 0
        0

        Pee See

        The plot thickens; my mind boggles.

        To think that students are queuing up to join an institution like this! Perhaps Prof. Thiagalingam was planning to be the Herculean hero who cleans out the stables. Given the irrefutable academic record of our Tamil brethren, I think Jaffna deserves a commensurate university, outstanding, and attracting the best students from all of Sri Lanka.

    • 2
      0

      Spring Koha

      Do we really need universities given the quality of students that the universities have produced over the years?

      I am still awaiting to meet a uni educated wise person.

      • 0
        1

        NV
        Learning and wisdom are things apart.
        You can see how I keep doing a stupid thing like responding to even more stupid things.

        • 2
          0

          SJ

          “You can see how I keep doing a stupid thing like responding to even more stupid things.”

          You mean to say you are educated.

          • 0
            1

            I am not sure.
            But I thought that you thought that I was educated.
            So I gave myself the benefit of the doubt. Any objection?

      • 2
        0

        Native Vedda

        In a separate article in CT today, Natasha Fernando,a University of London Law student writes….’Lets face it our universities suck!’ Sri Lankan universities may have, once upon a time, cut the mustard, but for sometime now they have been the pits.

        There was a time when the ability to reason, and to think freely and independently was a by-product of a good university education. Not anymore.

        Long ago, a die-hard JVP activist asked me why an employee who only had o’levels (and from a good school) was doing a job that should have been given to a ‘graduate’. Not only did I give the bugger a mouthful, I lived to tell the tale.

        You are right; I have been up, down and across this blessed island, and come upon many wise people, non claiming a university education.

        • 2
          0

          Spring Koha

          Thanks

          “I have been up, down and across this blessed island, and come upon many wise people, non claiming a university education.”

          I completely agree with you.

          “Not only did I give the bugger a mouthful, I lived to tell the tale.”

          Could I have a go at him too?

  • 3
    1

    …..I can only say that information reported here on the UOJ council thus far has not only been selective but also distorted ….
    says SJ.
    SJ, being a member of the UOJ council could you pl.put the record straight?

    • 2
      3

      Plato
      No decent Council Member discloses Council Proceedings without due authorization, even when they are deliberately distorted to personally hurt him/her.
      One has legitimate access through proper channels I assume.

      What stared as a media campaign to accommodate a late application has spun out of control (or perhaps not really) into an uncalled for barrage of attacks on specific candidates.

      The charge made about somebody’s improperly chairing a committee responsible for identifying eligible candidates is serious; but many swallowed it hook line and sinker once a name was dropped. Strangely, nobody asked for substantiation of the charge.
      The response I had from ‘Spike’ was at best hilarious.

      Singham
      What I said was that acceptance or rejection of an application has to be in keeping with rules and procedure. A breach can have undesirable consequences.

      I am not using this space to express my personal preferences.

      I cannot say why people do not respond to personal attacks: I would not either mostly. It is wise to ignore mudslinging.

      If the named person was in a search committee that processed the applications, your charges will hold. I doubted that prospect, and sought more information.
      The response from ‘Spike’ now makes me suspect something truly fishy in the charge and its discussion.

      I cannot respond to further fabrications as I have said enough I think.

      • 1
        1

        I am sorry SJ that you, who are a senior academic, talk like a hidebound bureaucrat, ‘acceptance or rejection of an application has to be in keeping with rules and procedure. A breach can have undesirable consequences’; just like the VC: ‘according to procurement procedure any bids received after closing date and time will be rejected.’

        Academic institutions are about getting in talent and rules are always flexible in this regard. Ask anyone who has been to reputed universities. They are always pleasant and ready to waive rules for this purpose. Here we are dealing with talented academics without the human aspect, like goods called on tender, delivered at a warehouse and locked up unseen.

        The VC applications were the last item on 28th Jan, when councillors were shuffling their feet to go home. Nothing was said about Thiagalingam, no reference was made to evaluation committee decisions made after a painstaking study of applications. Sivasegaram who signed the evaluation committee report to place Thiagalingam on the schedule, mysteriously made a volte-face and said we can reject his application,the VC said consider [the five] other applications and the councillors went home. Thiagalingam’s name was not mentioned, nor anything said on what he had to offer. And his alma mater was the University of Jaffna when there used to be academic traditions.

        It was simply a small delay that hurt no one. A young Muslim lady from the Registrar’s office simply said it is no problem.

        • 0
          0

          Now we should understand why Sivasegaram will selectively refuse to discuss things at the Council.

          • 1
            1

            From each according to one’s wit.

        • 0
          0

          Running Commentary,

          “A young Muslim lady”

          Why is it important to know her sex, age and religion?

      • 1
        0

        SJ,
        A breach may have undesirable consequences. But can’t the position be re-advertised? How fair is it to deny a candidate the opportunity to face the elections just because his application reached the university a day after the deadline for reasons beyond his control? Isn’t it wrong that the procedure does not say that post-marked date would also be taken into consideration? If the procedure is wrong should we allow such procedure to continue? When are we going to change it? The decision that you make at the Council can contribute to a positive change in the procedure. Please see this as an opportunity to make the system better.

        How can one say that to point out that Srisatkunarajah is trying to make the University a Hindu space wrong when he in fact acted in that direction? He tried to block the publication of a commemoration volume for Thangavadivel Master because it carried an article about caste. The author of the article, a lecturer (in his late thirties), teaches in the Tamil Department at Peradeniya. Please check. (See my next comment)

        • 1
          1

          Neerajah,

          I don’t believe in caste and would like to see a secular society where religion or not being a believer is a private matter. I don’t want to insult anybody.

          “He tried to block the publication of a commemoration volume for Thangavadivel Master because it carried an article about caste.”

          Why try to block an article about caste? What is the problem with his “casteism”?

          I have been told by reliable sources that this candidate is from a caste traditionally working as domestic servants aka koviar. Nothing wrong with that and it is hardly relevant.

          Does he:

          a) discriminate others who are “lower” caste?
          b) complain about being discriminated by the “higher” caste?
          c) a and b
          d) pretend to be an ayer or kurukkal with his own temple?
          e) something else? What?

      • 2
        1

        That Srisatkunarajah asks junior lecturers to escort his son from school is known to many at Jaffna University. When the university authorities turn a blind eye to these oppressive practices, where can the common man express his concerns? To turn these allegations down as personal attacks means that we are for an oppressive social structure and an oppressive institutional culture.

        Nobody is asking anyone here to accept everything that is posted here. Why can’t the relevant authorities conduct their inquiries? The commentators here are even giving you the names of individuals that you can check with. They include Prof. Tharmaratnam, Dr. Ramaruban, The lecturer at Peradeniya. And there were many news reports about what Srisatkunarajah did during the Kandyan dance controversy. His decision was biased towards the Tamil students.

        Does the Search Committee process the applications? Or is it there to identify and encourage candidates to apply?

        When you find out information about Prof (Mrs) Mikunthan’s role, can you share that information with us for the benefit of the public? Also, for details about other allegations – such as Srisatkunarajah’s casteism, Velnampy’s publications, etc. If people who hold responsible positions do not divulge the irregularities to the public, the public will continue to be deceived by the corrupt.

        Some of us here are engaging with you often in the hope that you can put things right. Please don’t see this as a personal attack against you.

        • 1
          0

          Neerajah
          You have not said anything ‘against’ me for me to take offence.
          Even if you did, I would have ignored it.
          I discuss issues and not personalities— that includes me.

          If anyone has to say anything there is an appropriate place and time for each. When disciplined conduct is breached disorder will rule. I listen, but do not probe unless I have the right to.

          I am sorry that you chose to attack individual applicants, especially at this point of time.

          Re-advertising happens when a post cannot be filled or if the procedure adopted is rejected.

          One should act according to rules. If one does not like the rules one could fight to change them. But in institutions one abides by rules while rules last.

          • 1
            0

            SJ,

            “One should act according to rules. If one does not like the rules one could fight to change them. But in institutions one abides by rules while rules last.” – That sounds very conservative to me. Not progressive at all.

            When the candidates for an important position are discussed, one needs to bring out their shortcomings. Some even want the commentators here to discuss. You may consider it personal attack.

            You keep saying that the source of the information about the spouse of a Dean chairing the select committee is of suspect. But the UJTA’s letter posted here says so. Do you think the Teachers’ Union is lying?

            As far as I know, only Mikunthan and Srisatkunarajah’s wives are faculty members. It must be one of them.

            In another question, you have asked the commentators to name the other members of the search committee. They are Rev Pilendran and Prof. Ravirajan (not the candidate Raviraj – this is a Physics of Professor, apparently). And the Search Committee is apparently different from the Evaluation Committee of which Prof. Sivasegaram, Prof. Tharmaratnam and Prof. Ravirajan were members.

            And people are saying that Prof Sivasegaram has signed the evaluation committee report/document and on the list of names in that document Prof. Sam Thiagalingam’s name appear as one of the approved candidates. Can you confirm or deny this? There is a reference to this committee in the UJTA’s letter. What do you say? Can I hope Prof. Sivasegaram will continue to fight for the acceptance of Prof. Thiagalingam’s application?

            • 1
              0

              Singam
              I have said whatever I could say without being improper.
              You are free to interpret it as you wish.
              Stick to what you like to believe, and I am not a professional dog-tail straightener.

              Now is fun time for me, relishing the conspiracy theory contest that is going on with rival teams speculating at will, with each contradicting the other.
              Let them enjoy it in the unrestricted CT playground— and you are not going to spoil my fun watching it.

              • 1
                0

                SJ,

                You don’t have any arguments to defend Prof. Sivasegaram’s actions in the Committee.

                1. I accept that there may be legal consequences if a letter sent after the deadline is accepted. And as you yourself says even rejecting can have cosequences.

                2. But the question here is why did Sivasegaram who earlier signed the evaluation committee report with Thiagalingam’s name later say that the application should be rejected?

                3. And your continuous claim that the claim that Prof (Mrs) Mikunthan chaired the committee is not correct.

                You have failed to respond to/defend the second and third claims.

            • 1
              0

              Singham,

              “You keep saying that the source of the information about the spouse of a Dean chairing the select committee is of suspect.”

              Are the minutes and whatever documentation from the council meetings now not available for all citizens thru a simple RTI request? The problem is that there is very little time to do anything.

  • 3
    0

    As an afterthought,I thought asking SJ to clarify would make things difficult since there is confidentiality in matters relating to council meetings,all the more so with a female VC!

    • 2
      0

      In every matter AJ’s position is a matter of convenience. He invokes confidentiality of Council deliberations only when the minutes involve Sivasegaram’s crookedness.

      Even regarding his identity I recall a person with a woman’s name insisting that SJ was a Marxist from Peradeniya while Sivasegaram was in denial. I guess he was joking as he claims depending on the circumstances.

      I have never seen a nastier man as he, who does not get on with anyone. He even deserted his wife once. But he claims to get on with people.

      • 1
        0

        Anon
        There is a point worth explaining.
        Sivasegaram was not “a Marxist from Peradeniya” at the time.
        That was the case since 2008.

        When people want to drag personal identity when they cannot deal with the subject matter, one responds in kind.
        The poor soul did not do her research well.
        Marxist– T.
        Formerly at Pdn– T.
        Marxist from Pdn — F

        You don’t need Boolean algebra to work it out.
        Have a sense of humor: the Jaffna Tamil middle class intellectual badly lacks it; and hence the nasty exchanges here.

  • 1
    0

    Thank you Plato.
    The gender of the VC is irrelevant, however, except that sexist attacks are not uncommon in the Tamil context.

    I await more information (not from you) on the members of the Search Committee headed by an interested party.

  • 2
    0

    I am not much of a gambling man, but knew many a gambler in my life.
    Is there a bucket-shop in town to take bets on the VC stakes?

    Believe me, punters could change the odds for any runner.

  • 1
    0

    By all means the Jaffna university can go back and see the date stamp
    posted by the post office when they received the letter from USA if Prof. Sam Thiagalingam posted on Dec 27th 2016 and if the date stamp says received Jan 10th and university open the letter on 17th it can be an internal job by some one purposely hiding the letter until closing time of the application so that they can put the blame game on late application.

    On top of everything the selection committee was chaired by a dean whose husband is an internal candidate for the position this line tell the full story why Prof. Sam Thiagalingam application was received after the closing date it clear to any one it is a internal job rejecting the application.

    Justices must prevail specially for person like Prof. Sam Thiagalingam an eminent scholar in Biomedical Sciences, alumnus of the University of Jaffna and currently teaching in a well known university
    School of Medicine in Boston University, USA only he wanted to help his country and Jaffna university students by getting well deserved position by doing this type of unethical things not only Prof. Sam Thiagalingam was discouraged even other tamils living out side SriLanka also discourage this type of unethical business practice and events. Jaffna University lost a grate Professor.

    • 1
      0

      Ravi
      I fully agree on the date of delivery issue.
      I am sure that someone in Council will check that out if it has not already been done.

      On the ‘selection committee’ issue, I think that the source of the story is now suspect, based on the kind of responses we have seen; and I would appeal to you to keep an open mind as well as consider possibilities including deliberate mischief.

      • 0
        0

        It is not the selection committee. It is the search committee that we are talking about. Can somebody explain the functions of the Search Committee and the Evaluation Committee?

  • 2
    0

    The entire column above stinks to hgh heaven.
    The academic society of srilanka had become so inwardly looking loaded with mediocre personnel who only protect narrow self interests. How can our educational standards broaden to an acceptable international level unless we become open to receive experts of internationally acceptable standards from abroad.
    Please open your eyes and look at famous universities worldwide. How much they strive to maintain their pristine standards by head hunting academics from all over the world?

  • 1
    0

    SJ.

    What I marvel at your comments is your spirited subtle attack mode when responding to comments.At your age most others would be in Mellowed mode.
    I mean no disrespect,but you would even baffle Sigmund Freud!

    • 1
      0

      Plato
      Thanks (or no thanks?)

      There should be better psychoanalysts than Freud around.
      There are plenty around you would have noticed whose conduct suggests that they need more than psychoanalysis.

      ps. What makes you think that I am old?

  • 2
    0

    In 1975 my husband applied for an Assistant University lecturer’s post at the University of Kelaniya. (Perhaps it was still just called a campus at that time.) His application went off well in time but a few days before closing date he had still not received a reply calling him for an interview, whereas other applicants had. An investigation by a friend working at the university revealed that the relevant Head of Dept did not want my husband to join the dept and was suspected of having his application destroyed.

    Another application was hastily prepared and hand delivered just in time to beat the closing date.

    My husband was selected though the Dean of the Faculty considered him over qualified for an Assistant Lecturer’s post and appointed him a Senior Lecturer.

    The Head of Dept made life very difficult for my husband whose presence in his dept was the cause of many more students enrolling for the subject. The Head had managed to keep it small for many years.

    Then, when the govt was in the process of losing the 1977 election, this man who had been a long-term SLFPer, jumped parties and spoke on UNP platforms. His reward: he was made President of the campus and persuaded the new Minister of Education to transfer my husband to Jaffna overnight.

    Thereby hangs another long tale.

    • 1
      1

      Manel
      I am sorry to hear about your husband’s experiences, but not surprised: some can be really vindictive.
      Wicked things happen to all of us— I will not go into those matters here.

      Allowing junior hands to become heads of department, under the Universities Act of 1978, has led to further abuse of the system.
      Even those who take the moral high ground on specific issues do devious things while pointing an accusing finger at others.
      That is life.
      Institutions survive tolerably well (here and abroad) despite such happenings.

      In applications for jobs, people act to ensure that the application has been received. Many use recorded delivery of some form.

      • 1
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        Naturally, my husband would have sent it by registered post or recorded delivery.

        And he had no problem about working in Jaffna, only he objected to it as a punishment transfer.

      • 0
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        Manel
        I was used to a time and a place where, even into the 1970’s, people from the university would send applications by normal post or hand over the papers without receipt.

        To destroy a document for which there is record of receipt is height of cheek. The HoD should have been severely reprimanded.

  • 2
    1

    Jaffna University is the darkest place in the north. Those educated fools only have the ability listen to the foreign powers to destroy themselves, Muslims and Sinhalese. If India says to shoot Sinhalese in the name of freedom, they will shoot Sinhalese. If the West says to shoot Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims and Indians they would do it wholeheartedly.

    Sri Lankan Tamils’ problem was sorted long time ago, but the educated fools weren’t smart enough to accept it. Tamil educated fools always end up in wrong side, and look for ways to create disasters not solutions. In the 1940s the British offered a solution for Tamils to go separate, but the Tamil leaders said ‘We’ll live together with Sinhalese’. Second opportunity came when G G Ponnambalam was the leader; Sinhalese generously agreed for 40:60 solution even though Tamils’ population wasn’t 40% at that time. But Tamil leaders rejected it and wanted 50:50; later on decided to take arms from New Delhi to kill their fellow countrymen. Then the third opportunity came through Indo-Lanka agreement. Again the Tamil leaders rejected the good offer, but decided to listen to the West, and turned their guns towards their fellow Tamils, Muslims, Sinhalese and Indians. If Tamil leaders have little brain, little love for their people they would have found a solution long time ago.

    • 2
      2

      AP
      Is this Comic Relief?
      If so, thanks, although I am already having fun.

      I think that it is time that people here ‘had a KitKat’.

  • 8
    0

    SJ: You claimed to have sense of humour in this avatar. For greater joy, you need to update yourself on the recent history of our University. Ask around campus for the gossip on what the mason saw before he fell off the scaffolding screaming “kaNdariyaathana kaNdEn”. Many will know.

    Here, we have a conflict of interest situation. It is not just hearsay for readers of CT. To us, it is a claim made by two staff unions. It is serious. It needs a clear response from those in responsible positions. “Picking hair off egg shells” is not the way forward.

    Over and out.

    • 0
      1

      You know the one from Murukaiyan;
      muttaiyile mayir pidungip penum paarppaar. (pluck hair off eggs and even look for lice)

      That is what I see in all the unsupported charges here.
      Get the details from the unions and place it here.
      We can take it from there.

      • 1
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        SJ,

        Haven’t you read he Teachers’ Union letter posted here? Click the links in this report.

      • 1
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        What a joke! The letters have been sent to all the Council members. Is there a postal delay that has hampered Prof. Sivasegaram from seeing the letter?

        • 0
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          I have said what I have to say.

          If anything is funny, laugh and have fun.

  • 1
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    What Bhagwat Gita Says:

    “Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act
    as a matter of duty, for by working without attachment one attains the
    Supreme.”

    What is important to note is that it discourages Karma for sense gratification. It tells you to do Karma to help the society, taking this as your duty. This is what Karma-Yoga is all about. And when you remove “I” or ego from the equation, you are automatically free from all worries and are detached from the results for personal gains, but never are you short of motivation. You are motivated to perform your duty to uplift the society.

    This is clearly indicated by the fact that Arjuna was told by Lord Krishna to fight the battle and kill his relatives, not for earning the kingdom for himself, but for the good cause of defeating the evil forces.

    • 0
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      The trouble is that those who wage holy wars of any kind are incapable of telling between good and evil.
      So they bombed Hiroshima, spilt blood in Vietnam, Palestine and much of the world and recently in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

      Decide on an enemy, kill the truth with help from the media.
      The rest is cakewalk.

      • 3
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        SJ

        “The trouble is that those who wage holy wars of any kind are incapable of telling between good and evil.”

        True, Bangladesh in 1971, Cambodia from 1975, Sri Lanka between April 1971 and January 2015, in Peru by Shining Path (Abimael Guzmán), ………… Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution between 1966 and 1976, ……

        • 1
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          You are talking of bloody communists.
          How can those damned atheists wage holy wars?
          Think of another phrase. Class War? Revolution? Something better…

          • 2
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            SJ

            “How can those damned atheists wage holy wars?”

            Oh I didn’t notice the absence of religiocity in their conduct of the war.

            Haven’t you noticed they had their own religion and they called it “ideology” – green book, red book, ……?

            “Class War? Revolution? Something better…”

            Another name for petite fascism or as infamously justified dictatorship of the proletariat.

            Mostly dictatorship of the lumpenproletariat, from top to bottom. And some join it with false consciousness.

          • 0
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            The only war that the DoP fought was with German Fascism.
            They called it the patriotic war.
            The rest was internal squabble.

            BTW
            All human consciousness has a touch of falsehood.

  • 0
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    [Edited out We are sorry, the comment language is English – CT

  • 1
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    SJ,
    Having fun time is your own business, you do not need to disclose it here, but try to answer the questions raised by others. Having fun times cannot be considered as excuses to answer the questions.

    • 1
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      GS
      I enjoy my freedom of expression and trust that you are not from the Thought Police.

      I congratulate the mastermind who planned the Conspiracy Theory Contest.
      For me to refute each lie that sprouts like mushroom after rain will take a lifetime and life is a little too short.

      There is a place and time for everything and here and now is my moment of fun. I relished moments when some lies bowled out other lies, some were caught, and some simply ran out. I was a little sorry for the retired hurt category. The poor ball is now lying in the outfield, forgotten, uncared, while some seasoned players are busy playing mud ball.

      This is still a free country. Do enjoy your opinion until freedom lasts and
      I will enjoy your enjoyment, with or without permission, until freedom lasts.

      • 1
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        Can you please list down the lies that you have refuted so far? I am very interested in familiarizing myself to those lies. Can you at least please confirm if these are the lies that you are talking about? I sincerely (not making fun of you here) request you to add the rest to this list so that we can sort it out in the best possible way.

        1. Prof (Mrs) Mikunthan served on the Search Committee as its chair (The letter sent by the UJTA says a spouse of one of the candidates – it could be either Mrs. Srisatkunarajah or Prof (Mrs) Mikunthan. Even if it is Mrs. Srisatkunarajah it is wrong)

        2. The commentators here have failed to name the other members of the Search Committee with evidence

        What else?

  • 3
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    Prof.Mikunthan and Velnambi is a current VC’s choice as a next Vice-chancellor University of Jaffna. Current VC is presently working to promote both of them. Last Vice -Chancellor election Velnambi brought one of his friend from South-eastern university as a dummy candidate on request of EPDP for spread the votes. As a well-wisher we know Prof.Mikunthan or Velnambi is not perfect choice for University vice-chancellor.

  • 4
    0

    When any law is made the intention of it is important to interpret it. Here with regard to the VC Election there is a search committee to facilitate a good candidate from anywhere. According to the advertisement all limbs have been satisfied but the Search committee was formulated late, even after Prof.Thiagalingam has applied from the USA. There were reasons for this delay like Charismas and New Year holidays, airport closure and recent postal strike that would have made a backlog also. Considering all that it is the duty of the academic community to accept this application. I am sure the current VC is very much adhereing to the Law of the land and hiding behind the law to achieve her agenda. Now I am asking a question what the hell this same lady and the past council had the Pre Council meeting at Douglas Devananda’s Political Theatre (“Srithar” Theatre) then. Why did not she utter a word about the autonomy of the University at that time? Is it a shame or salivary? If for this sort of illegal meetings and decision makings were possible at that time why cannot these Pundits can think wisely and accept this Professor who is highly qualified on moral grounds at least. For argument sake assume that all these Dons are willing to accept the application but the law is blocking…. Why cannot these candidates willing to come forward to withdraw their applications and facilitate the admin to re advertise properly including a reasonable search committee top have more Thiagalingams to sacrifice their work in foreign countries and come to serve the mother land! Thing prudently!! Act Wisely!!!

    • 0
      0

      A—i
      Some more shooting in the dark.
      Good.
      I was sad that nearly all the kids had gone home tired, having broken a few windows and destroying neighbouring gardens in their search for a non-existent ball.

      Please keep me entertained.
      Thanks for killing my boredom.

  • 0
    0

    Lion
    Did I claim that I refuted any?
    Do not flatter me. Give credit where it is due. It should go to the players who did much of the hard work.

    Congratulations for listing two.
    muyaRci thiruvinaiyAkkum (Effort yields fruit)
    Try harder and you will find more.

    Meantime, let me enjoy the scene from the gallery.

    BTW, my old friend Jacques Clouseau is working on a text titled “Coup de citadelle du nord”. I have a vague suspicion that it has something to do with claims to a building standing on the premises of an old school up north.
    He is no relative of Professor Niranjan but about as sharp as him.
    As his English is a little coarse because of his French origins, I am working on a translation of the French draft via a Tamil Parisian.
    May take a while, and the game may be over by then, but the ball will still be there somewhere in the outfield unless some mongrel decided to chew on it.

    I promise, I will keep you informed. Be in touch.
    Au Revoir!

    • 0
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      Sekara
      Damned naughty of you.
      You stole my text.
      I will report you to the Conspiracy Contest Organizers.

      • 0
        0

        SJ,

        “Damned naughty of you.”

        Funny. Thanks.

        Have you counted how many times you have commented here?

        • 0
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          Really, I lost count, can you kindly do it for me please?
          But you have made me add one to the count.

          Don’t be jealous that right now I am the most popular agony aunt around and every other writer is sobbing on my shoulders.
          I am kind, never use rude language, and do not ignore anyone with a problem.
          If you have influence with the person or persons writing in so many names, you may ask him or them to remain calm.
          Sadly, nothing is in my hand.

          As I said earlier, I am also having fun. People are entertaining me, and I acknowledge.

  • 0
    0

    SJ,
    As Singham suggests you have got away by pretending that the hard facts above are unsubstantiated and hence untrue. The poor ball is not lying in the outfield uncared. What is truthful has to be said only once, if you ignore it, you ignore it. It is those who want to deny the truth that have to sow confusion and be infinitely repetitive as you have done. Truth needs saying only once. If you are having fun, do have fun.

    Don’t think that others are playing mud ball. There will soon be the playing of hardball. Good luck for the council meeting of 25th February.

    • 0
      0

      No mate, you got the wrong ball in your hand.
      Having said what needs to be said; And the truth will be spoken where it is respected.
      Meantime, I am enjoying the fun. Do keep me entertained and come up with a fresh Conspiracy Theory.

      The organizers may have declared the contest to be over; but late entries may be entertained.
      I promise nothing, as I do not make the rules.

    • 0
      0

      There will soon be the playing of hardball.
      Machang, that is great news.
      Where where where? I cannot wait.

      I hope that the tickets are not already sold out?
      Please please please use your influence to reserve me a front seat.

  • 0
    0

    SJ…

    Some one has told that you are an Alsatian dog But… You are like Rabid Alsatian dog. Better go and have some Rabies vaccine in Colombo or Trinco or in Jaffna when you come for the council meeting. Now new drugs are available for vitiligo in the USA. Try to call Prof Thiagalingam and ask him to bring that new drug from Boston when he comes for the presentation before the VC election! First try and play softball !!

    Bye now…

    Arulmoli

    • 0
      0

      Ar***ol*
      You should know that rabies vaccines are for victims?
      So I can wait until you bite me.

      BTW, which vet treats you?
      If you want to change your’s tell your master that there is one who writes to CT regularly, decent guy.

      • 0
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        sekara,

        “You should know that rabies vaccines are for victims? So I can wait until you bite me. BTW, which vet treats you? If you want to change your’s tell your master that there is one who writes to CT regularly, decent guy.”

        There is a lion, a wolf, an Alsatian dog and a Lion King in this zoo.

        Maybe we should all get preventive RV shots?

        • 0
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          You do not seem to be the vet.
          Kindly tell me which rabid creature Ar***ol* is.

  • 0
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    SJ,
    We can understand your busy schedule of fun times and ball games. Alsatian dogs are used to be busy with fun times and ball games. Enjoy!

  • 0
    0

    Sounds daft.
    Try a better one next time.

  • 1
    0

    The application has been sent by “Registered” post 3 weeks in advance.

    what is the difference between:

    (1) ” The application should be reached ……..”
    (2) “The application must be reached …….”

    Which statement is legally valid?

  • 0
    0

    John
    Both are incorrect.

    Other players:
    There is a match on in another playground.
    I am off.

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