NEW DELHI -- A committee at the University of California, Irvine has voted to reject two endowed chairs sponsored by an American non-profit linked with Hindutva groups.
News website Scroll reported today that following three months of protests by students and faculty members, UCI has rejected the chairs to research and lecture on the Vedic and Indic Civilisation Studies, and Modern India studies, funded by the Dharma Civilization Foundation whose trustess have close links with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in India, and its American arm, the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh.
UCI will also review whether to keep two chairs research on Jainism and Sikhism sponsored by the same group.
Each post is reportedly worth $1.5 million spread over five years.
Students and professors at UCI's School of Humanities raised objections over the lack of consultation and transparency in the instituting of these chairs, Scroll reported. The faculty also discovered that their South Asianist colleagues had not been consulted about the endowment.
The Committee also found that views of the Dharma Civilization Foundation views were “inconsistent” with that of the UC Irvine’s “core values as a public university that fosters diversity, inclusion, toleration, and respect.”
“When comparing the publicly stated views and intents of the DCF with other community based donors, however, we find that the DCF is unusually explicit and prescriptive on appropriate disciplinary formations, what constitutes good or acceptable scholarship, and, indeed, what constitutes good or acceptable scholars”
“The committee deems the DCF’s statements targeting faculty based on race, ethnicity, religion, and nationality antithetical to UCI’s mission of creating a safe academic environment that is conducive to sharing and critically examining knowledge and values.”
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