Jadavpur University calls emergency EC meeting to discuss the “fate” of convocation on December 24

KOLKATA: Uncertainty hangs over the Jadavpur University convocation scheduled on December 24 following an emergency executive council meeting that university authorities have called on Saturday afternoon to discuss if they will at all go ahead with the event in the wake of boycott call against chancellor Jagdeep Dhankhar by several students’ organisations.

According to an official statement, the EC meeting will be held to discuss the future of convocation after student bodies submitted a memorandum to vice-chancellor Suranjan Das on Friday, informing him about their decision to boycott the event if the Governor attends it. Sources though said JU authorities were keen to wriggle out of a sticky wicket they had landed themselves after inviting the Governor to the event at a time when the state government has made it clear it does not want any direct interaction between Dhankhar and the universities.

“I have received representations from many student organizations stating that they would boycott the convocation if Governor attends the program. Students are a major stakeholder and I don’t want another untoward incident to take place in the campus,” Das remarked when asked why an emergency meeting had been convened.

A senior JU official said a low-key convocation is likely to be prganised later without the special convocation in which Honoris Causa degrees are conferred to celebrated individuals. This year, former foreign secretary Salman Haider, scientist CNR Rao and author Sankha Ghosh were to receive honorary doctorate degrees along with director of the Indian Statistical Institute, Sanghamitra Bandopadhyay.

University officials had faced a similar ‘dilemma’ during the 2014 convocation when several students, including gold medal-winner from Bengali department, Geetashri Sarkar, refused to receive degrees from then governor Keshari Nath Tripathi following the Hok Kolorob movement.

“Boycott Dhankhar” has been called by a large number of JU students this year. “The convocation in JU is scheduled on December 24. Our chancellor and governor of the state is supposed to be present on the occasion. We urge all JU students to boycott Dhankhar,” said Debraj Debnath, general secretary of Arts Faculty Students’ Union. He added that the students would wear black badges and hold black flags during the demonstration.

“The police attack on students on campuses shows that BJP is against any voice of dissent,” Debnath had said.

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Updated: December 21, 2019 — 4:22 am

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