November 23, 2015
In a sudden move, the Managing Director of Arya Vaidya Pharmacy, Coimbatore, P.R. Krishna Kumar today assumed charge as the Chancellor of the much in the news Avinashilingam University.
Dr. Krishna Kumar succeeds T.S.K. Meenakshisundaram, who demitted office yesterday, a few days before the completion of his tenure, which ends on December 2, 2015.
This has come as a shock to students and faculty who have been protesting since June demanding that Mr. Meenakshisundaram step down as Chancellor. According to a few faculty, though they desired the stepping down of the former Chancellor, this sudden change had raised eyebrows.
The protest, since June, was based on the premise that the appointment of Mr. Meenakshisundaram was against the University Grants Commission (UGC) norms that no member of a Society or Trust that managed an institution could be appointed as the Chancellor. He is a member of the Avinashilingam Education Trust that manages the institution.
This was only one among their demands. They believed that the management was trying to convert the institution into a self-financing one. Their allegation was that the management was refusing to comply with the demands of the Ministry for Human Resource Development (MHRD) and the UGC to remain as an aided institution.
The management had all along been denying that it was not trying to convert the institution into a self-financing one. But it had failed to share with the protesting students and faculty the Memorandum of Association (MoA) submitted to the MHRD in which it claimed that it had promised to uphold the benefit of students and faculty.
Students and faculty wanted the MHRD to continue as the sponsoring society of the institution because only that would protect the quality of education for students and salaries and other benefits for faculty.
Students had said that they would not end their protest unless the former Chancellor stepped down, even as he threatened to upload morphed photographs of students on social media.
In the midst of this, the appointment of a person who had no connection with the institution or Trust has further raised the suspicion of the students and faculty. Earlier once too they felt threatened when there was an unexpected visitor in the form of S. Malarvizhi, Chairperson and Managing Trustee of Sri Krishna Group of Institutions, leading to failure of talks convened to solve the issue.
A Padma Shri awardee for his contribution to Ayurveda, Dr. Krishna Kumar will hold the post for five years.