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St Stephen's Staff Association, Student Union stage protest church involvement in admissions

Student union and staff association of St Stephen's college on Friday staged a protest against the alleged interference of the church authorities along with a member of the institution's Supreme Council in a panel to select students.

The Supreme Council looks after the religious and moral instruction of the students, including all matters affecting its religious character as a Christian College of the Church of North India.

Hundreds of protesters with black bands on their shoulders gathered in the premises of the college and raised slogans against the Church authorities. Students also carried posters and placards demanding perseverance of academic integrity of the admission process.

They have also written an open letter to the college principal, urging to develop communication opportunities with them.

Three members of the governing body comprising Abhishek Singh, Narain and NP Ashley protested against the authoritative role of the principal and his unacademic decision that could compromise the academic integrity of the admission process.

"The whole matter is concerning the admission of the college. We are a minority institution so we have been given since 1992 by the Supreme Court -- one is minority status was upheld and we were allowed to hold a separate admission process of the Delhi University. So we were having interviews, which given 15 percentage weightage to students overall performance. The interviews were supposed to be conducted by the teachers of the specific departments," Nandita Narain told ANI.

"The institution is allowed to take students from the Christian community. But wherever the academic standards are involved and matters of public health, morality etc.. it has to follow the rules. Instead of a three-member interview panel, we had a four-member panel including principal's nominee. So the role of the department got diluted," she added.

Highlighting the role of Supreme Council, Nandita said it has no role to play in the administrative decisions of the college.

"To a great shock, this time in the interview panel a member of the Supreme Council, which is set of six people in the governing body of the college was present. They have no role to play in the administration, they have a role to play in Christian character of the college, religious matters and appointing the principal of the college. When we complained about it, the principal warned us saying that he will take action against us," she said.

The student union and staff members want the inclusion of Supreme Council members in the interview panel, issuing the 'warning letter' to three teachers and the threat of action against the three teacher representative of the governing body, to be upheld.