Appointment of KU Dean of Students sparks controversy

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Kalyani University (KU) has appointed a Dean of Student Welfare (DSW) who allegedly flouted the required eligibility criteria for the position, sparking serious controversy.

Several candidates who appeared before the interview panel for the position, faculties and other university staff alleged that Professor Manas Kumar Sanyal, Vice Chancellor (VC) of KU, had played a instrumental role in the entire process of appointing Mr. Rana Ghosh to the position of DSW, although the latter does not meet the essential qualifications required by the university.

In June 2021, KU authorities issued an announcement inviting applicants for the position. The essential qualifications for the position were:

I. Uniformly good academic record with a master’s degree with a minimum of 55% marks or its equivalent mark in the point scale wherever a grading system is followed

II. At least 15 years of experience as a lecturer/reader/assistant professor in the AGP of Rs 7000 (pre-revised) and above or with 8 years of service in the AGP of Rs 8000 (pre-revised) and above, including as an associate professor as well as experience in educational administration in academic institutions like a university or in an institute of higher education of which 5 years must be in a university or in an institute of graduate studies.

(Or) Comparable experience in research and other higher education institutions. (Or) 15 years of administrative experience including 8 years as an assistant clerk or equivalent position.

“The appointment of Mr. Rana Ghosh as DSW was made completely circumventing the eligibility criteria as he was neither an assistant nor an associate professor. He was also not a comparable position holder receiving an academic salary (AGP) at a university or college. I am surprised how the screening and selection committees ignored this crucial fact related to the eligibility of the selected candidate,” said Professor Alok Ghosh, former Head of History Department and Senior Lecturer at KU.

“It is mandatory to include pro-VC among the selection committee panelists for any type of academic and administrative appointment at our university. But mysteriously, this is the first time that I have not been asked to become a member of the DSW position selection committee. I don’t know why and the VC and Registrar might respond in this regard,” KU pro-VC Professor Goutam Pal told The Statesman. “I doubt the candidate named DSW has essential eligibility for the position,” Prof Pal said.

Professor Sanyal was not available for comment, although this correspondent tried to contact him several times via his three mobile numbers and his landline installed in his university office in Kalyani. He also did not respond to a message sent by this correspondent to his WhatsApp number on Thursday seeking his reactions to accusations of irregularities in the DSW appointment. “I will not comment on the matter although I have signed the DSW nomination letter. With the directives of the VC his appointment was made and therefore he knows everything. You talk to the VC,” KU Registrar Dr. Debansu Ray told The Statesman today after making several calls to his various cell phone numbers since last week.

Professor Bhabesh Pramanik, Principal of the state government sponsored Domkal College, Murshidabad, who came second in the interview, said: “I think myself the most suitable candidate to become KU DSW but I sensed a rat behind the process of nominating the person for the position. I learned that nepotism was involved in selecting the person as DSW.

“I have over 20 years of experience as a college professor since 2000. I used to handle the student union election process as an election official when I was there at KU from 1991 to 1999.” he added.

Denying the allegations, Mr Ghosh said: ‘I have met the essential qualifications required for the post of DSW. I served Gurunanak Institute of Dental Science & Research in Panihati as an administrative officer for 15 years from 2004, then I was promoted to secretary in the same private institute until I joined the KU.

“My administrative experience at the private dental college equates to the eligibility criteria required for the DSW position. Allegations of nepotism related to my selection as DSW are baseless. The university authorities as well as the selection board selected me based on my eligibility and I joined in November,” Mr Ghosh said.

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