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St Stephen's College to include Church of North India member on admissions panel for UG courses; faculty lodges protest

Delhi's St Stephen's College has announced that its interview panel for the undergraduate admissions this year will include a member of the college's Supreme Council, which is a panel of six members of the Church of North India (CNI). This is the first time that a non-academic person, who is not part of the faculty of the college, will be made a member of the admissions committee.

 St Stephens College to include Church of North India member on admissions panel for UG courses; faculty lodges protest

St Stephen's College in Delhi. Getty Images

The college's principal, John Varghese made the announcement that the “interview panel for selection of students for admission to the college will include a member of the Supreme Council" at a staff council meeting of the college. The Supreme Council is a subset of the Governing Body, or managing committee of the college. All its members belong to CNI.

Faculty members strongly objected to the move claiming a "conflict of interest." A statement was issued by members of the governing body Nandita Narain, NP Ashley, and Abhishek Singh. Demanding that the decision be "withdrawn", the statement “condemned the illegal and unacademic decision” and added that it would “compromise the academic integrity of our admissions process”.

In response to the statement, however, the college administration issued a "warning" and called the objections "complete concoctions".

The faculty also alleged that the move was against the constitution of the college. Clause four of the college’s constitution says: “The Supreme Council of the College shall have the control of the religious and moral instruction of students of the College and of all matters affecting its religious character as a Christian College of the Church of North India; and, in addition, shall appoint, after proper advertisement, the Principal of the College who shall be a member of the Church of North India or of a Church that is in communion with the Church of North India.”

However, clause five stipulates that “the Supreme Council of the College shall have no jurisdiction over the administration of the College."

“He (Varghese) has made this unilateral announcement in the Staff Council. Hence, he has acted in violation of the powers of both the governing body as well as the Staff Council, as laid down in Ordinance XVIII of Delhi University,” added the statement by the faculty members.

Bishop Warris K Masih, a member of the CNI and Governing Body was quoted as saying, "It doesn’t matter if it’s never happened before. The college belongs to us. The teacher representatives have no right to object," by The Indian Express.

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Updated Date: May 14, 2019 16:06:16 IST