Mumbai University: HOD goes on voluntary retirement amid crisis at the Institution

Neeraj Hatekar, the Head of Department (HOD) at Mumbai School of Economics and Public Policy, has retired voluntarily amid crisis which has been a cog in the institution’s wheel of progress.

Hatekar says it’s unwise to stand and fight as a lone warrior in “a hopeless system.”

Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam (c) has issued an ultimatum to Mumbai University administration and the Maharashtra government to declare university results on or before July 31.

The angry HOD also believes that his contributions will be better appreciated if he fights corruption from the outside.

Mumbai University witnessed peaceful protests last Tuesday after a large number of prospective Masters Degree students condemned the new regulations on tuition fees which requires students to pay their school fees for the two-year course all at once.

Agitations in Kalina campus increased in intensity after some of the M Sc. students who were offered scholarship prior to the programme, had it denied at the last minute.

A total of ten students from the Other Backward Class (OBD) were asked to pay a total of  Rs 70,000 or have their results withheld, reports confirm.

The affected students gained admissions to study at the university in 2016 after paying only Rs 500  as enrollment fees. Their eligibility for the scholarship programme was confirmed by the Social Welfare Department for OBC students at that time.

However, the school authority reportedly told them in October 2016 that the scholarship scheme had ended in 2014.

“Most of us are from wretched homes,” one of the affected students told reporters. “Mumbai University offered us a fake scholarship. There’s no way we can pay the outrageous amount — not even at once.”

Another student in the group said Vice Chancellor Dr Sanjay Deshmukh has been informed of the breach through an appropriate channel, requesting a direct communication with the Social Welfare Department as a way of restoring peace in the crisis-ridden institution.

“The university should release our results and give us more time to pay because the amount is big,” said another student.

Mumbai University has struggled to meet the 31 July deadline for releasing delayed results, and Hatekar believes his decision to go on voluntary retirement together with other senior officials of the university, is the best way to fight a hopeless system.

The outspoken HOD took to social media to explain his reasons for the arguably “unproductive” decision.

“I realize that I will be more effective in working towards the betterment of the university fighting for it from outside rather than being part of a hopeless, spineless system led by stooges who only understand expediency of survival,” he shared of Facebook.

“I feel uncomfortable that earning my daily sustenance involves deference to such a system.”

Hatekar has often voiced his opinion against the exploitative use of teachers and an ineffective systemic functioning of Mumbai University. He recently kicked against the authorities’ goal of making teachers work extra hours as a way of making up for lost assessment time.

Speaking to reporters on the events surrounding his decision to quit, the disgruntled HOD said it’s time for all sympathizers to put heads together and save the university from collapsing.

University of Mumbai, Maharashtra

“The time for silence is over,” he said. “Whatever is going on in the University of Mumbai is deeply distressing… The Joint Action Committee for Improvement of Higher Education in Maharashtra calls for all interested parties to volunteer help.”

The University of Mumbai currently has 711 affiliated colleges. It is one of the first state universities of India and the oldest in Maharashtra.