Anahita Mukherji,TNN | Apr 21, 2015, 06.01 AM IST

TISS director resigns over issue of review panel report
On Monday morning, the day TOI reported on the alleged suppression of a review committee report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), the director of the institute, S Parasuraman told TOI that he had resigned from his post.
MUMBAI: On Monday morning, the day TOI reported on the alleged suppression of a review committee report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), the director of the institute, S Parasuraman told TOI that he had resigned from his post. When TOI called him later in the day to check whether his resignation had been accepted, he said he did not want to speak with us again.In an email from Parasuraman to TISS faculty members on Monday, a copy of which is with TOI, he wrote, “Much of the substance for the news item in Times of India went from a few faculty members and one review committee member.” However, TOI has not divulged any information to Parasuraman about where we received our information from, or who our sources are.

TOI had reported on fears that an academic review committee report, which is believed to be critical of the institution, was being suppressed, as the report is yet to see the light of day, 10 months after the committee last met. The committee comprises senior academicians from across the country, including vice-chancellors and retired vice- chancellors. A member of the committee told TOI of a number of irregularities in the manner in which the institution was expanding.

According to the review committee member, TISS had undergone a phenomenal expansion, but had done so too frequently in the absence of the requisite infrastructure.

“In some campuses, the library is overcrowded and students have no place to study. Often four students are crammed in a hostel room for two. In one instance, a student fell off the top of a bunk bed in the absence of railings,” says the member.

The committee member told TOI that the rapid expansion of TISS resulted in a need for more teaching posts than UGC could sanction across campuses, with the result that many of the posts were funded by the Tata Trust with the hope that eventually UGC would sanction the posts.

“We were paid an average of Rs 60,000 each over the course of the review and put up in five-star hotels. Why was so much money spent on us if the report is still to see the light of day?” asks the member.

After an email to TOI expressing his displeasure over the article, Parasuraman SMSed to say he had put in his resignation. “You made my life simple. I just resigned from TISS. God bless you all,” said his message. In subsequent messages in response to TOI’s query over whether he was sure he was going to resign, he said, “I have already resigned. It is not about myself – it hurts when wrong intentions of some affect the dignity of the institution. TISS is too dignified an institution to be dragged to such unfounded accusations. I am taking responsibility as head of the institution.”

In an email to TOI, he went on to say, “It is an unfortunate situation that when the institute is requesting the Review Committee members to submit the report for the past 18 months, it has not been able to do so (all are eminent scholars and too busy to get together and do the final report). I am reproducing an email that I wrote to them in February 2015 asking for the report and their response is attached.”

However, the review committee member told TOI that the committee had submitted a 35-page draft report in July 2014.