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Accusations of nepotism mar selection of next VC of AMU

Radiance News Service
Aligarh, Nov. 4, 2023
The prestigious Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is embroiled in a controversy over the appointment of its next Vice Chancellor, with allegations of nepotism and conflict of interest. Prof. Naima Khatoon Gulrez is tipped to bag the position of VC, sparking a debate on the transparency of the selection process.

Prof. Naima Gulrez’s nomination for the position is significant, as she would become the first woman in AMU’s more than 100-year history to hold the position of Vice Chancellor. She served as the principal of the Women’s College at AMU since 2014. She enjoys a good reputation as a skilled administrator. As the President of India and the Education Minister hail from the same state (Odisha) as Prof Naima, there are heightened expectations of possible favorable support.

Prof. Mohammad Gulrez, her husband, is currently serving as the acting Vice Chancellor of AMU. He chaired the Executive Council (EC) meeting responsible for shortlisting the candidates. Out of 20 proposed candidates, five were selected through a voting process using ballot papers.

Critics argue that being the husband of a potential candidate for the post of VC, Prof. Mohammad Gulrez’s role in the selection process presents a conflict of interest. The minutes of the EC meeting indicate that the issue of conflict of interest was raised by two members, but it was shot down by Prof Gulrez and supported by the University Registrar and the Visitor’s nominee.

The controversy is expected to resurface when the University Court, the highest governing body of AMU, shortlists three out of the five candidates for the final approval of the Visitor, which is expected to take place later this week. Prof. Mohammad Gulrez is set to chair the Court meeting as well, raising questions about whether he will recuse himself this time.

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