Faculty members of the Indian Institute of Management (IIMA) and the B-school are at loggerheads over a logo. The premier institute has redesigned the IIMA logo — inspired by a stone-carved latticework of an Ahmedabad landmark, the 16th century Sidi Saiyyed mosque — and it maintained on Friday that the new insignia adhered to the legacy of the old one, even as faculty members sent a letter registering their protest.
Signed by 12 teachers, the letter addressed to the chairman, the Board of Governors (BoG) as well as the director of IIMA raised objections to the approval given to the design of the new logo by the academic council without involving the faculty.
Among several issues, the faculty members raised concerns over two new logo designs that were approved without consulting them. They said the change deviates from IIMA’s legacy by doing away with the iconic Sidi Saiyyed Mosque jaali (net), which is emblematic of the old city of Ahmedabad.
“We are keen to meet you to understand the rationale for this change in logo and the process adopted by the board. Have there been changes to governance practices at the Institute?... IIMA since inception has been a faculty governed institute, which has followed due processes. Good governance and procedural correctness are what have contributed to the stellar reputation of the Institute,” the faculty members wrote. Until they know the reasons behind the proposed change, they will view it as a violation of existing practices “which were built on the premise of faculty governance”, they added.
On its part, the institute posted a statement on its website saying the need to “refresh the logo” arose during the process of “revamping” its website.
According to the institute, evaluation, exploration, the development of wordmark and brand mark were all kept in mind while coming up with the final design recommendations.
“The proposed logo continues the legacy of the original, retains the status line in Sanskrit (Vidya viniyogadvikasa — development through the distribution or application of knowledge) as in the original, the colour rendition has been improved, the fonts modernised, the “jaali” inspired brand mark has been made more amenable to communication in digital media, and the brand name made more distinct,” IIMA has said, adding that the proposed logo is set to be released this June after the annual vacation.
According to the faculty members, two new logo designs were okayed by the academic council, one of which does away with IIMA’s Sanskrit motto.
“The faculty was called and a presentation was being made on the new logo. When the faculty began giving ideas, the members were told that the presentation was only to inform them and that the board had already approved the new logos. While one of the logos had edited the Sidi Saiyyed mosque jaali, the other replaced it with a palm tree,” a source told Business Standard.
The letter from the faculty cited past directors involving the academics. “The directors of the institute have always respected faculty views and adopted proposals only after following a due process of consultation. However, in the recent past, we have noticed that there have been lapses and there have been repeated instances of process violations and bypassing of established faculty governance norms and practices,” the letter read.
It also raised concerns over dwindling interactions between the board and the faculty. “There had always been board-faculty interactions, formal and informal, which had strengthened the governance processes at the Institute. Please note that the Board of Governors has not met the faculty members as a group for more than two years now.”
Further, questioning faculty representations within the BoG, the letter said that the faculty members were unable to present their views to the board since the selection of their representative on the board was not robust and “transparent”. “As a result, the faculty representative is rarely a spokesperson for the collective views, which does not speak highly of the governance practices followed at the topmost management institute in the country,” it said.
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