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Hoole's Letter-cts to UGC

Hoole's Letter-cts to UGC

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Published by Sri Lanka Guardian

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Published by: Sri Lanka Guardian on Mar 05, 2014
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03/05/2014

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 In 2002 Hoole applied for both the advertised chairs of Engineering and Computer Science (CS), and was processed for neither. In July 2004, Hoole applied for the advertised post of Professor of Computer Science (CS). Without appointing a selection board to decide his suitability, SAR Academic (as minuted by him) suppressed it after consulting the Vice Chancellor, following adverse minutes by Dean Science and Head Computer Science to the effect that the applicant was unsuitable because he had neither a doctorate nor a first degree in Computer Science. Hoole upon seeing the post re-advertised in May 2005, learnt about the suppression of his application the previous year and contested it before the University Services Appeals Board (USAB). In its judgment of 21
st
 February 2006, the USAB ordered the University of Jaffna to
 process Hoole‟s application for the post of Senior Professor of CS and make the appointment
 before 31
st
 March 2006. The university authorities in Jaffna, were extremely reluctant to let a selection board, comprising
mainly its appointees, decide on Hoole‟s suitability. The Dean Science in his personal capacity
 petitioned the Court of Appeal on 30
th
 
March 2006 to quash the USAB‟s order. He said
,
“T
he material issue before the [USAB] was whether [Hoole] possessed a degree with specialization in the relevant subject [of Computer Science]
”. By making the University a respondent, he made it
cough up large sums in legal fees without achieving the objective of the Court endorsing him. Dean Science, who was subsequently made Acting Vice Chancellor, writing to the Chairman UGC on 4
th
 
July 2006, gave additional reasons for not following the USAB‟s order. One was the
time given being insufficient, the other importantly, that
it being 21 months from the closing date of the advertisement (July 2004),
the validity of the application is lost according to UGC Establishment Circular [Letter] No.17 (CL 17) of 3
rd
 
November 2005’
, wherefore the  post is being re-advertised. Ironically, CL 17 provides rather for expeditious appointment to senior professor of eminently qualified persons and says nothing about the validity of an advertisement.
Upon Hoole‟s return to Sri Lanka, having resigned his position at Rensselaer Polytechnic
 in the US, His Excellency the President wrote to the UGC Chairman on 13
th
 September 2010, calling for Hoole to be appointed as Senior Professor of CS in Jaffna in accordance with the orders of the USAB. The Vice Chancellor, writing to the UGC on 4
th
 December 2010 repeated the same positions taken by the former Acting Vice Chancellor, including the applicant not having a first degree in Computer Science. Without any reference, he claimed that the validity of an advertisement lapsed after 18 months. On this misunderstanding, h
is response to the President‟s order was to
re-advertise the post on 14
th
 January 2011 calling for a fresh application from the applicant.
 
In response to Hoole‟s fresh application to the USAB, the present Vice Chancellor
responded on 26
th
 July 2011, justifying the misuse of CL 17, claiming the University has acted reasonably in implementing the USAB order of February 2006, and is further
implementing the President‟s
directive by processing the fresh application made by Hoole. Thus all three chief executives of the University have acted on a gross misrepresentation of CL 17 as regards validity of advertisement without the caution of checking back and piously claimed to follow the rules.
The period of validity of the process is addressed in UGC Circular 699 of 1997, qualified by 732: A decision must be reached on an application within six months of the advertisement, extended maximum two times, three months at a time
, with UGC sanction. This takes into account the fact that a qualified candidate cannot and should not be kept waiting indefinitely. It is certainly unacceptable for the University to sit on an application without processing it and then demand a fresh one claiming expiry of the advertisement. More  pertinently, the University ignored the salient fact that a cutoff date does not apply to a court (i.e. USAB) order.
The University of Jaffna has wantonly violated the rules without the UGC checking it.
Two important points stand out in the entire processing.
First, none of the four subject specialists in the recent selection board, the two senate
nominees and two UGC nominees, assessing Prof. Hoole’s application has a first degree in
Computer Science.
CS is a new area and practically all senior academics in the field are from engineering or an allied field.
Indeed, Jaffna‟s first CS department head, Dr. S. Kanaganathan, was Prof. Hoole‟s PhD student.
And second, the interview arranged for Prof. Hoole on 30
th
 January 2014 was a fraudulent exercise unworthy of a university of standing
. The Vice Chancellor assured the USAB in July
2011 that Prof. Hoole‟s application to the post advertised in January 2011 was being processed.
The fact of making him apply again was based on the inexcusably fictitious representation of CL 17 as pertaining to the expiry of an application, ignoring the USAB order.
Thus interviewing Prof. Hoole for the post 36 months after he applied was a parody of the rules alien to CL 17 and completely against the spirit of Circular 699 (732), besides an affront to th
e President’s
directive. It was an exercise in fooling the applicant and members of the selection board.
 As said earlier, there is a commonsense answer to this problem, recognized in the much abused CL 17, which says,
an applicant for the post of Senior Professor does not have to be evaluated according to the strict marking scheme for the post of Professor
.‟ It is meant to
allow persons who have earned international renown and distinction to be recruited without the red tape that has been abused in Prof. H
oole‟s case. Asking people who do not have a
corresponding level of attainment to sit in judgment on persons with undeniable international acclaim
, leads to the kind of unfortunate situation that brings down the system‟s reputation for
integrity and commonsense.

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