After 4 PM, KU’s MERC ‘Goes To Dogs

At a time when the universities across the world focus on imparting round-the- clock education, the Media Education Research Centre (MERC) of the University of Kashmir, in an unprecedented move, has decided to close its activities after 4 pm. An order to the effect was issued by the HoD recently has shocked the students who termed it as a “deliberate attempt” to impede academic activity.

The Centre known for producing a galaxy of scribes over the past three decades has turned into a “murky story” as the center has issued an order to all the students, teaching and non-teaching staff there would be no activity in the center after 4 Pm.

“This is for the information of all the teaching and non-teaching staff that the department shall remain open up to 4 pm during all working days,” order No F(Deptt-Open)MERC/KU/12 dated 03-09-2012 issued by the HoD, Prof S Mufeed Ahmad, says.

For extended stay in the department for any official assignment, the order says, the concerned “should seek a proper approval/permission” from the HoD.

The order has come as a rude shock to the students. “After 4 pm, we used to attend trainings and designing sessions to make good the time lost due to occasional interruptions,” an agitated student, wishing anonymity, told Kashmir Observer, adding that after its closure dogs could be roaming around instead.

“This is an unexpected move from a person who has been teaching management. Is this what he calls managing the department with a professional touch,” a faculty member pleading anonymity told Kashmir Observer.

“We have a history of producing future journalists to work with reputed media houses. Even during turmoil, we used work till late and impart training to our students but we fail to understand this order,” he said.

Insiders believe the order would affect the academic affairs of the department. Even after its vice- chancellor talks about making all the departments vibrant in research, such orders are being issued to make a “mess of the university.”

“No scholar or academician is on departmental premises after 4pm; I personally think that the department should not stay open as it will save department cash in terms of energy and I am doing this for making it accountable,” he said, adding sometimes doors remained open endangering departmental property.

The HoD denied the department was under any threat from outside or inside.

“But if any student needs to avail himself of any facility he or she can notify the concerned person and ask for extension in closing hours of the department,” he added.

“It would be highly unethical and unwarranted to ask MERC orderly to stay put in the department till late. In that case, we will have to compensate him suitably, something not being done at present,” he added.

Talking to Kashmir Observer, vice-chancellor, Prof Talat Ahamd, said such orders shouldn’t have come in the first place.

“I am currently away, so I do not have any information about it. However, I personally believe that no department cannot be closed at any point, it should be open 24 X 7 so that any student can access the facilities at any time,” he said, adding he would look into the matter.

Pertinently, MERC has come under a scanner recently for alleged financial irregularities and violation of rules.

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