KU Syndicate backs VC in D.Litt row

By Staff Reporter

A special meeting of the Syndicate of Kerala University on Wednesday backed Vice Chancellor V.P. Mahadevan Pillai in the controversy over the proposal to confer the D.Litt on President Ram Nath Kovind.

The Syndicate, which endorsed Prof. Pillai’s stance that the proposal had been discussed among its members, albeit informally, cited protocol and legal hurdles as reasons behind the move to turn it down.

Convened to discuss the circumstances that led to the controversy, the meeting also witnessed a section of Syndicate members faulting Governor Arif Mohammed Khan’s handling of the issue and expressing concern at the “leak” of a confidential letter that the Vice Chancellor had delivered personally.

It also bemoaned any attempt made to malign the Vice Chancellor, who has teaching and research experience spanning 35 years and has been involved in academic activities in the country and abroad.

Emerging from the meeting, Syndicate member K.H. Babujan said the informal discussions had decided against conferring the honorary doctorate in view of the age-old policy of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. He cited the futile efforts made by the university to confer the Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) degree on former President K.R. Narayanan, an alumnus, in 1997. More recently, Mr. Kovind refused to accept the Doctorate of Science (Dsc) degree conferred by the Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Himachal Pradesh, in 2018.

“The Kerala University does not wish to drag the Rashtrapati Bhavan into an unnecessary controversy by going ahead with the proposal. Such circumstances had led the university to decide against placing the matter before the Syndicate,” Mr. Babujan said.

The Syndicate appealed for close coordination among the Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor, and Vice Chancellor in taking the university ahead.

Meanwhile, the Governor denied having personally targeted the Vice Chancellor. It was the refusal to obey his directive to call a Syndicate meet to discuss the proposal that he had frowned upon, he told mediapersons..

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