Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Save American College, Madurai (Update 2011)

This article was written on Jan 16, 2011 and updated on Jan 26, 2011, Mar 16, 2011, Mar 21, 2011, Mar 28, 2011, Apr 10, 2011, and May 1, 2011

In 2008, I have written Save American College, Madurai that seemed to help many people including alumni to understand the situation, politics and chaos. At that time, I was favoring Principal's party as favoringBishop's party could turn adverse as they'rewas already trying to replace non-permanent staffs; in fact, I have even donated a meager amount for the legal battle.[Update: Corrected the sentence to convey the intended meaning. Thanks for those who pointed out]

This time, people hit the same old article and asking the details. When I contacted, this time, nobody have clear reason for the chaos--except that it's a ego clash between Principal and Bishop party.

Problems and reasons

  • Till now, all bishops were being part of The American College, Madurai Governing Council. All/Most of the bishops played subtle role till now.

  • Principal (Chinnaraj Joseph) and Bishop (Christopher Asir) were close for sometime.[Update: Pro-bishop website published a photo of Chinnaraj Joseph receiving blessings from Christopher Asir, when he was appointed as a Principal]. During those times, Chinnaraj Joseph allowed Christoper Asir to interfere in certain matters. When the two broke up for unknown reasons, in 2008, Principal and fellow members complained highhandedness of Bishop and went on strike.

  • Strike and legal battle turned positive for Principal--especially due to high profile, media and alumni support for Principal.

  • By end of 2010, Principal's group again got irked as he wasn't given extension of service as his retirement is nearing. He reportedly lost few months of his service over the strike. Principal's party alleged Bishop's role. Since, there were already some misunderstandings continued between both the parties, they again started the chaos.

  • Retired Prof. Sam George writes that the problem has come to an end after Prof. Solomon Pappiah met Chief Minister Karunanidhi and a committee has been formed.

Bottom line

Sources say that the problem may still arise as there's a big ego clash between both the parties and it doesn't seem to be fight for cause--but fight for ego. The sad thing is that many self-financing staffs have already left the college--for example, if you have finished MBA 2 years before, you may not find a single lecturer of that time now. Students are mainly affected as some of them couldn't get necessary certificates in time due to "administration shift". There are also decent number of girl students added now in UG self-financing section and they were also reportedly affected at those times in getting certificates, education, etc.

I hope, this ego clash will come to an end with no party winning other and the unknown reason for the tiff between Principal and Bishop will get publicized.

Update (2011-01-26)

Not a caste politics [Update: See caste politics below]

Some people rumored that it's a caste politics between Prof. Solomon Pappiah + Chinnaraj Joseph and Christopher Asir. When I checked, it's not related to caste--as both Principal and Bishop are from same community. There's no clear reason known how Prof. Solomon Pappiah is dragged into the scene.

No party is clear about the situation

Though some professors are aligning with one party, they don't have any clear reason--except that they're aligning for "relationship" reasons. There doesn't seem to be any cause on both the sides. Everybody agrees that the personal values of both Principal and Bishop are not good.

Party links

Personally, I'm not favoring any party this time. But, to understand at least vague reasons, you may visit the below sites:

  • Pro-principal - updated by Prof. Sam George (Zoology, retired)

  • Pro-bishop - updated by Prof. Albert Christopher Dhas (Economics)

Update (2011-03-16)

People are asking me about March 14th mayhem. As far as I learnt, present students were also been part of the rampage. But, the real concern for many are about the future of the students as the semester exam and state government election are nearing.

Update (2011-03-21; expanded 2011-04-10)

This blog is under attack for being "wrong" and unbiased.

Third front emerging?

Some feels that the issue can be resolved in court without affecting students' education.(?)

Unofficial Reasons

Version-1: Money & power

This is the prevailing layman theory.

Version-2: Caste politics

According to this theory, the "furious" people on both sides are actually against to both Principal and Bishop for their community.

Some says that both CSI and American College were dominated by one-caste people for some long time, but whenever there's someone to be selected/elected for Bishop or Principal post, caste is been brought up and people are getting divided upon caste. It is said some caste members don't like the domination of particular community and when the problem started, they vehemently fuelled the problem. It is also said that the "furious" people don't like the way both Principal and Bishops were chosen; their cause is to weaken particular community's domination.

Some even says that Principal and Bishop may join anytime due to their community affiliation.

Version-3: Started in CSI

When I checked about this theory, some says this is new for them and some of things could be true.

Unofficial short version

Both the parties want successor (new principal) from their side and also power on their side.

MCC like independent committee - solution?

Principal party proposed independent committee and when I checked some brought the following pros and cons. Some felt that it's not about the constitution, but the people.


CSI institution is polluted with politics for decades. A bishop directly or indirectly spends 5-35 crore rupees during his election. So, he'll try to pull back those money through institutions under his control. Such independent committee will reduce such election expenses.


They have their own set of politics. For example, MCC's committee is now controlled by chauvinistic Nairs.

Possible solution

Neutral principal--possibly from thrird front (?)

Update (2011-03-28)

One hidden news is that Students seek Jayalalithaa's help to resolve American College issue (The Hindu, dated March 18, 2011)

Update (2011-04-10)

I have expanded some texts above.

No solution before May/election

Some says government is reluctant to take decision on "Christian" institution as sidelining any party could be sensitive.

Backlash in Principal party

Sources say, unlike previous time, Principal party is in weak stand now; some of the mentioned reasons:

  • They dumped their original demand of extension of service for Chinnaraj Joseph

  • They tried to get students support (Bishop party is also having some students on their side), but wasn't appreciated well as they were boycotting classes.

  • They brought 3rd party recommendation committee, but that created more damage for them. Refer Dr. Mumtaj Begam, Director of Academic Staff College, Madurai Kamaraj University's questions on the report, especially those on "dates".

  • Their blog is closed and moderated for comments, leaving questions on democracy.

  • Bishop party trying political support

    Some say Bishop party is trying to get political support. Few others say Principal party is also trying to get political support. But, both of them seem to be reluctant on AIADMK.


    Some say the "intensity" has reduced on both the sides. If they're willing to dump current "candidates", the problem can be solved. Arguing on college "constitution" may not bring quick solution. When the third front could bring more people, the problem can come to an end at least for now.

    Update (2011-05-01)

    Another hidden news is that State government must temporarily take over American College: [Madurai Kamaraj University's Academic] council (The Hindu, dated March 19, 2011)

    Wednesday, August 03, 2011

    TechCrunch features CollegeBudget, group buying site

    TechCrunch featured CollegeBudget, group buying site similar to Groupon but targeting college students. The concept is promising and can be extended to other areas.