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American College pins hope on CM for solution

Shastry V. Mallady

Salary not paid to staff for seven months; semester examinations not yet conducted for some courses

— Photo: K. Ganesan

ANXIOUS:Students waiting to pay fees at the extension counter of a bank at American College on Tuesday.

MADURAI: Amid continued uncertainty on the campus, the faction-ridden American College here is awaiting Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's intervention in resolving the college administration issue which has been affecting the staff and students.

Even as a new academic year has begun, the semester examinations for various undergraduate/postgraduate courses could not be conducted for students in time while the college staff did not get their salary for the last seven months.

In an attempt to bring normality in the city's prestigious higher education institution, a delegation of American College staff is making attempts to meet the Chief Minister at the earliest “since the new government is already ceased of the matter and representatives of both the groups have met the Higher Education Minister and Higher Education Secretary in Chennai a few days back.”

Salary could not be paid to 130 staff members (94 aided teaching staff and 36 non-teaching staff) since the office of Joint Director of Collegiate Education/State government could not disburse the pay bill as two contenders — R. Mohan (acting Principal) and P. R. Anbudurai (Principal in-charge) — have been claiming to be college secretary.

College secretary is the salary disbursal authority and since the two persons have been claiming the amount from the government for aided staff, the salary claim could not be honoured for seven months now.

“The college is facing insecurity and indiscipline because of delay in arriving at a solution to the problem. In our view, only Dr. Mohan is college secretary and we are expecting a formal government approval soon,” S. Stephen, Dean (Academic Policies), said.

He told The Hindu on Tuesday that a delegation of teaching staff would visit soon after getting an appointment with the Chief Minister to explain the current position and seek her intervention.

The group supporting Dr. Mohan (appointed by the Church of South India Bishop) to be the Principal and secretary is insisting that it will not agree to anything less than that.

“Ours is a minority institution and we have the right to administer our affairs. We have necessary approvals from the government, court and Registrar of Societies,” said Vice-Principal J. Arul Doss.

Because of the protests and imbroglio on the campus in 2010-11 academic year, not only the classes were affected but also the end of semester examinations could not be conducted till now for some courses. Though there have been contradicting claims from the two groups on how many students could not take semester examinations, it was clear that hundreds of students were left out and waiting to write the examinations.

The most affected were the undergraduate students of English, Tamil, botany, zoology and physics courses. “Representatives of the college governing council met Minister for Higher Education and we learn that there will be some development by this weekend,” Mr. Stephen said.

As the problem got spilled over from last year, the college is awaiting a lasting solution to the vexatious issue. Meanwhile, classes for first-year undergraduate students will begin on July 1.

With both the warring groups waiting for the Chief Minister's call, there is hope that she would take steps for the smooth conduct of examinations, payment of salaries and administrative harmony in American College.

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