Thampu calls Stephen’s society meet for constitution amendment

St Stephen's College

St Stephen’s college principal Valson Thampu has now called a meeting of the Society to consider amendments of the constitution to change its name and empower it to establish Stephen’s-like private institutions across India.

The call for a special meeting on December 15 comes amidst a controversy over the approval of amendments to the 102-year-old constitution by an allegedly “truncated” Governing Body of Stephen’s earlier this week.

“The GB has resolved that it is advisable to change the name of the Society from ‘St Stephen’s College’ to ‘St Stephen’s Educational Society. It has also been found favourable to extend, alter and expand the purposes of the society by the establishment of additional educational institutions of excellence for the furtherance of education and the mission of the Church of North India,” Thampu said in a letter to all society members.

The meeting invitation also carries a draft of the approved amendments by the GB which also calls for amendments to the memorandum of the society and to the rules.

One of the major changes proposed include having a separate GB for the college which has teacher representation and another for the Society which has no teacher representatives but has all the powers regarding the college administration.

Stephen’s had approved certain amendments in the college’s constitution in a meeting of the GB on Monday despite eight out of eighteen members including the teacher nominees abstaining from the same, resulting in a truncated GB.

 Thampu, however, claimed that the GB had the required majority of two-third members.

The college staff had yesterday demanded that the GB is in full attendance before the next meeting scheduled three months later in which a final call will be taken on the amendments.

 Thampu, who is retiring in February next year, had come up with a draft amendment in which he had proposed that the principal be empowered to take disciplinary action against students or staff irrespective of the GB’s opinion.
 He has also called for giving a major say to the Church of North India (CNI) in the functioning of the college, handing over the powers to appoint faculty and admissions to its Supreme Council (SC) and recasting the composition of the Governing Body (GB).
 The move to amend the constitution has also attracted the ire of the college alumni who have termed it to be an attempt to make St Stephen’s a “Christian ghetto”, Thampu has been maintaining that it is the Supreme Council’s decision to make the amendments and there has been no violation of procedures or law.

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