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antagonistic relations with both academics and students due to high handed and unethical
behaviour and no right-thinking administration would have selected such an individual to a
position of great responsibility. In protest, the Peradeniya Academic community through the
Union submitted a petition signed by members of all faculties, requesting the Vice
Chancellor to replace the Deputy Vice Chancellor. This was ignored.
To stall these unprecedented breaches on autonomy, the Peradeniya University
Community through FPUTA staged a token strike on 17th of December 2013. As there was
no positive response from the administration, the members withdrew from all the voluntary
positions that directly dealt with the Deputy Vice Chancellor.
FPUTA also resolved that its members will resort to agitations at crucial
events/junctures, as deemed necessary by the academic community to protest the
deterioration of university autonomy and academic freedom. The academic community is
also considering boycotting the convocation procession and the dinner this year. This is a
final resort since the academic community is fully aware and sensitive of the importance of
this occasion for students. This step is being considered reluctantly to protest against the
deplorable lack of sensitivity towards the will of the entire academic community of
Unversity of Peradeniya by the politicized administrators.
Members have also boycotted all meetings chaired by the DVC. Recently an entire
Faculty Board walked off in protest as the DVC tried to address this Faculty Board; now the
DVC does not try to address most faculty boards. Through these actions members were able
to register their protest and to challenge the unprecedented breaches of autonomy that are
taking place at the university.
Despite all these efforts to pressurize the administrators to do what is right, recent
events show the stubbornness of the administrators and their political backers. Recently
ignoring the decision of even the faculty board which (not to mention the will of the
academic community), the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine has paved the way through
devious means to allow ten students with dubious academic records to be admitted to the
MBBS programme. Furthermore, it is learnt that these students will be paying huge amounts
of money to compensate for what they lack in academic qualifications. Not stopping at this,
it is learnt that interested political masters and their flunkeys have threatened and
intimidated academics who protested against this decision. The authorities concerned clearly
wanted to change the Peardeniya Medical Faculty into a degree shop and sadly, university
administrators are letting it happen. Despite this, the faculty board of the medical faculty
stood resolutely by their principles and have been able to defeat this well planned initiative.
Similar stories of unprecedented ill-deeds are regularly disseminating from the
entire university system. We believe, now it is time for the academic community of Sri
Lanka to step up their fight to safeguard the university system in what is possibly the darkest
period of university education in this country. It is now time to stand united against the tides
of darkness that threaten not only our institutions, but also our dignity. It is now time to
fearlessly stand up for what we believe is right.
Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri,