Aizawl: The current status at ICFAI University Mizoram is grim as employees have not been paid for three months despite carrying out their duties. As of July 30 this year, five faculty members, including campus head and deputy controller of examinations, have been served termination notices citing ‘operational reasons’.
No justification has been given by the sponsor of the University, ICFAI Society, a not-for-profit society based in Hyderabad.
The Mizoram State Assembly passed The Chartered Financial Analysts of India University Mizoram Act, 2006. For the first time in the state, an opportunity for quality management education was made feasible at affordable rates.
But troubles began in 2010, when the ICFAI Society, claiming financial hardships, proceeded to pull out from its investments in Mizoram. It resulted in the closure of the ICFAI Republic School in 2010; and Alpha Foundation and ICFAI University Mizoram Lunglei campus in 2011.
The ICFAI University in Tripura also faced indefinite shut down in 2012 due to the tussle between the employees and the ICFAI Society, Hyderabad. Many faculty and staff were also terminated.
In 2012, the ICFAI Society notified the government of Mizoram that it was unable to continue running the University. It requested the government for closure of the University. However, immense pressure from the board members and government officials rendered the society to revoke the decision.
Since then, there has been tremendous pressure on the faculty and staff to recover the society’s investment in the University and profit generation. The students are the main casualty with tuition fees increasing every year. Poor investments in infrastructure have exacerbated the situation and compromised the quality of service provided to the students. Up to 675 students are currently enrolled in the Mizoram campus.
Employees and students have repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction over the years via various forums but to no avail.
Given below is the timeline snapshot of the most recent pertinent incidents related to the struggle between ICFAI University Mizoram and ICFAI Society Hyderabad.
· November 19, 2018: Letter to the Vice Chancellor, IUM Lt General (Dr) Anil Kumar Misra (retd) requesting the reparation of long pending issues.
· February 1, 2019: Continuation letter to the Vice Chancellor, IUM Lt General (Dr) Anil Kumar Misra (retd), reminder of the pending issues.
· March 4-27, 2019: Black badges were worn daily by all the IUM employees to demonstrate discontent over lack of response to the grievances raised in the past.
· March 12, 2019: It was decided that student and employee grievances would be tackled jointly under organised bodies for a more effective outcome. Students Action Committee (SAC) — a voluntary students’ representative body was formed.
· March 28, 2019: Sitting demonstration at IUM Campus organised by IUMEF (ICFAI) University Mizoram Employees Forum and SAC.
· April 1, 2019: Citing ‘moral responsibility’, Vice Chancellor IUM, Lt General (Dr) Anil Kumar Misra (Retd) submits resignation letter.
· April 2, 2019: Meeting of Dr R Lalthangliana, minister of higher and technical education, with IUMEF and SAC representatives.
· April 3, 2019: Letter to the Registrar EN Murthy, ICFAI Society, Hyderabad from chief minister Zoramthanga, highlighting IUM issues and call for explanation. Response timeline given was April 16, 2019.
· April 23, 2019: Letter to CM Zoramthanga from EN Murthy (Compliance explanation). Burning of new prospectus copy by SAC to express discontent over commencement of admissions in 2019.
· May 1, 2019: Communication received that ICFAI Society Hyderabad has appointed C Dothanga (IPS) retd as acting Senior Advisor to IUM representing ICFAI Society, Hyderabad. IUMEF representatives meet C Dothanga explaining the grievances along with pertinent documentations that supports their claims as requested by him.
· May 8, 2019: SAC and IUMEF representatives met the Chancellor JP Ramappa and C Dothanga at Aijal Club to communicate their issues in person. Due to disappointing outcome of the meeting, students gather at Aijal Club grounds and burnt the effigy of Chancellor JP Ramappa.
· June 6, 2019: Lalnunmawia Chuaungo, chief secretary to the government of Mizoram and his team members visited IUM campus and met with IUMEF and SAC representatives to understand their grievances.
· August 1, 2019: Five faculty members including the campus head and deputy controller of examinations receive termination emails on their personal mail citing ‘operational reasons’. Four out of the five terminated faculty members are IUMEF representatives. As the deputy controller of examinations was terminated, supplementary examinations that were currently being conducted came to an abrupt halt. Employees meet the senior advisor C Dothanga now promoted to acting vice-chancellor-in-charge by ICFAI Society. He informs them that many more employees will be terminated. He also informs them he has pitched the idea of converting the ICFAI Mizoram Campus into a Hospital to the Government of Mizoram.
· August 6, 2019: Though academic session (Winter Semester) resumes based on annual academic calendar, all academic and administrative work come to a grinding halt due to termination of senior faculty holding key positions. Employees and students lock the offices of the acting vice chancellor, C Dothanga, the registrar Joseph Lalremsanga and assistant registrar David Lawmzuala for acting against the interests of IUM employees, students and the Mizo people.