Anna University faculty’s human chain stir against name change on September 28

Chennai , News Today ,28 September : Anna University faculty have announced a human-chain protest on Monday opposing the university’s name change associated with its bifurcation. The educationalists say that a simpler alternative would be to let the parent institution retain its name and bestow a similar name to a daughter institution.

“Out of the 26,000 papers published with impact factor, 20,000 were published by the four campuses in Chennai. However, the credit will now go to the affiliated colleges and we have to start from scratch,” Anna University Teachers Association (AUTA) president Arual Aram told Express.

During the State Assembly’s recent monsoon session, Higher Education minister KP Anbalagan had tabled a Bill proposing the bifurcation of Anna University. The Bill splits the institution into a unitary type Anna Technological and Research University in Chennai and an affiliating type named the Anna University. The Bill, which was passed last Thursday, has not gone down well with the staff at Anna University.

Aram said that the varsity was constituted by the late former chief minister MG Ramachandran as a world-class research institution that will compete with the Indian Institutes of Technology. “Even though there are several IITs and NITs now, Anna University is still a competition for them. The parent institution cannot lose its name,” he asserted.

The AUTA and the university vice chancellor have also written to Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Minister Anbalagan against the name change. The association has also requested Governor Banwarilal Purohit, who is also the varsity’s chancellor, to intervene in the matter. The AUTA members wore black badges to the varsity since last Monday criticising the move. They charged that the name change would affect their years of hardwork.

‘Simpler alternative’
Speaking to Express, former Anna University vice chancellor E Balagurusamy said that a simpler alternative would be to let the parent institution retain the name and come with a similar name for the affiliating institution. “I have a strong feeling that this move was initiated by a lobby of private colleges. They want their colleges to have the Anna University tag,” he said. While the bifurcation itself will ease administrative process, affiliating process and improve the research focus of the varsity, the name change will severely affect the academic recognition.

“The entire world will be confused. Even if private universities take up Anna University’s name, the myth will break in two years,” he said. The faculty members have said that they will soon resort to legal means to address the situation if the government does not concede. Speaking to Express, Justice P Chandru said that the judiciary may not take a strong position on the matter. “The name was given by the Legislative Assembly, it can be changed by the Assembly again.

There are two ways to look at the name change’s impact: on its brand and on its function,” he said, elaborating that while functions may become streamlined with the bifurcation, the name change will affect the brand. A similar problem arose when College of Engineering, Guindy, and other three campuses were merged to Anna University, said Justice Chandru adding, “Intellectual property of the parent institution cannot be stolen by the new affiliating varsity.”

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