Staff opposition forces AMU to drop gag order proposal

AMUAligarh Muslim University

After stiff opposition from staff members, a proposal by the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), which prevented teachers from writing letters to newspapers, was dropped from Academic Council (AC) agenda during its meeting held on Thursday.

The Aligarh Muslim University Teachers Association (AMUTA) had passed a resolution two days ago demanding withdrawal of the proposal from the agenda of the AC meeting.

AMUTA secretary Aftab Alamm had also met Vice-Chancellor (VC) Lt Gen Zameeruddin Shah to apprise him about the resentment among the staff members over the proposal.

"The issue was discussed with V-C and we are happy that it has been withdrawn," Alam stated.

AMU's Public Relation Officer Rahat Abrar claimed that the proposal was not pressed during the meeting. "It was formally decided to drop it. Though it was listed in the agenda, it was not discussed," Abrar stated.

Sources claimed that in the past, the VC had summoned some faculty members expressing his dissatisfaction over latter's writing letters and posts on Facebook. The proposal was intended to put a curb on such activities.

The 'gag' order proposal was forwarded by Dean Students Welfare (DSW) Prof Anis Ismail and imposed restrictions on participating in any radio broadcast, electronic media and contributing articles. The teachers were even restricted from writing a book either in their names, anonymously, pseudonymously or in the name of any newspaper or periodical. They were also prevented from owning wholly or in part, or participate in the editing, management of any newspaper or periodical publication. It also restricted the faculty members from writing letters to the newspapers.

Earlier in June, DSW had forwarded these proposals to be made part of code of conduct of the university teachers. The proposal needed clearance from AC before implementation.

"We were surprised as DSW is concerned with works related to students and has no locus standi over making such proposals. VC was misled over the issue," Aftab Alam said.

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