Non-Academics on Strike 94/365-vice chancellors should be held accountable?


Posted on July 12, 2007  /  4 Comments

University non-academics have been on and off strike for quite sometime. According Ministry estimates the lost working days amount to an unproductive expenditure of RS: 2540 lakhs or a quarter of a billion. The total operating budget for the university system is about Rs: 8 bilion.

It is easy to blame the non-academics, but as correctly pointed out in an editorial in the Lankadeepa, many days of work were lost also due to students attacking each other and other miscellaneous misdemeanors. It is about time we put a ruppee value on these disturbances and attach a name to each loss–the name of person at whose desk the buck stops.
The buck stops at the desk of each Vice Chancellor in a university. Anybody can close down a university if the students fight, or put up a sign saying no classes today due to strikes. VCs are not paid to do that. A vice chancellor is the chairman of the Univeristy Council which is the executive body and governing authority of the university. The VC can exercise sufficient authority if they are so inclined. It is customary for our VCs to complain about the UGC and the politicians etc. but the real issue is the lack of leadership of the VCs of the present day.

It is the responsibility of the civil society to demand that leaders exercise leadership or resign. Through this forum we like to keep track of the university closures and executive officer in charge during each closure. Yes, the minister and UGC has used the non-academics’ strike to point out the cost in rupees. Let us go one step further and document the days closed, cost in rupees and CEO responsible.

Please do your civic duty. Tell us about the closures at your university. How many days. What was the cause.

4 Comments


  1. I heard of many instances where VC’s close the university at a small commotion which understadably is a cost for the country.

    Let me tell you of a story from a Several years ago…in a University not too far away.

    The VC at the time had this notion that “I am not going to be a VC of a Closed University” …sounds good enough…and what happens ?,
    The Majority Student Group (I guess you all know who they are aligned to..?) go on bashing the others at will…(And the VC gives a blind eye – bcos the media do not report it prominently as there are no mass Sathyagrahas or Pelapaliyas) and even Academics were at the receiving end, although not physically harmed, threatened.

    One academic who who was at the receiving end – complained to the VC and identified the students who confronted him. And what does this VC do ? Pardon them (or probably warned them) since they cried during the inquiry. The UTA (or whatever of the faculty) didn’t care bcos the academic concerned had not obtained their membership. The poor Senior Lecturer – couldnt face the students after this..he was shocked, and disappointed!. (At the time He had recently returned to the country, after completing his Higher Studies) resigned and joined another academic institution.

    So I agree we need VCs who can lead the Universities and keep them open – but not at all costs – like the One I referred earlier : sweeping the student problems under the carpet. The “results” of these actions came one or two years later. I’ll leave that for the reader to figure out.

  2. I heard of many instances where VC’s close the university at a small commotion which understandably is a cost for the country.

    Let me tell you of a story from a Several years ago…in a University not too far away.

    The VC at the time had this notion that “I am not going to be the VC of a Closed University” …sounds good enough…and what happens ?,
    The Majority Student Group (I guess you all know who they are aligned to..?) go on bashing the others at will…(And the VC gives a blind eye – bcos the media do not report it prominently as there are no mass Sathyagrahas or Pelapaliyas) and even Academics were at the receiving end, even physically harmed at 1-2 occasions, threatened etc.

    One academic who who was at the receiving end – complained to the VC and identified the students who confronted him. And what does this VC do ? Pardon them (or probably warned them) since they cried during the inquiry. The UTA (or whatever of the faculty) didn’t care bcos the academic concerned had not obtained their membership. The poor Senior Lecturer – couldn’t face the students after this..he was shocked, and disappointed!. (At the time He had recently returned to the country, after completing his Higher Studies) resigned and joined another academic institution.

    So I agree we need VCs who can lead the Universities and keep them open – but not at all costs – like the One I referred earlier : sweeping the student problems under the carpet. The “results” of these actions came one or two years later. I’ll leave that for the readers to figure out.

    If you are Smart, you could probably figure out who this was, but my interest is not to name people, just to highlight the point that while keeping the Universities open, we need Strong VCs, who are not afraid of the “Students”.

  3. I heard of many instances where VC’s close the university at a small commotion which understandably is a cost for the country.

    Let me tell you of a story from a Several years ago…in a University not too far away.

    The VC at the time had this notion that “I am not going to be the VC of a Closed University” …sounds good enough…and what happens ?,
    The Majority Student Group (I guess you all know who they are aligned to..?) go on bashing the others at will…(And the VC gives a blind eye – bcos the media do not report it prominently as there are no mass Sathyagrahas or Pelapaliyas) and even Academics were at the receiving end, even physically harmed at 1-2 occasions, threatened etc.

    One academic who who was at the receiving end – complained to the VC and identified the students who confronted him. And what does this VC do ? Pardon them (or probably warned them) since they cried during the inquiry. The UTA (or whatever of the faculty) didn’t care bcos the academic concerned had not obtained their membership. The poor Senior Lecturer – couldn’t face the students after this..he was shocked, and disappointed!. (At the time He had recently returned to the country, after completing his Higher Studies) resigned and joined another academic institution.

    So I agree we need VCs who can lead the Universities and keep them open – but not at all costs – like the One I referred earlier : sweeping the student problems under the carpet. The “results” of these actions came one or two years later. I’ll leave that for the readers to figure out.

    If you are Smart, you could probably figure out who this was/which University as well, but my interest is not to name people/locations, just to highlight the point that while keeping the Universities open, we need Strong VCs, who are not afraid of the “Students”.

  4. I can understand why you don’t want to name names about any one particular incident. Whistle blowing should be done carefully.

    But there is no harm in reporting on objective criteria such as the number of days closed and VC at the helm during each closure and letting the facts speak for themselves.

    It would really helpful if students can email to coord@educationforum.lk any information that they can give about the universities that they are familiar with. We will compile the data and publish or even write to each vice chancellor asking, as tax payers, why he/she is not doing his/her job.
    The information we need is as follows. will have:
    1. Academic Year
    2. Closure # (Give a number for each closure you document; we will give our own ID)
    3. Name of University
    4. Number of days closed
    5. Official reason for closure
    6. Name of Vice Chancellor at the time of the closure

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