Saurashtra University (SU), Rajkot appointed an Assistant Registrar for media communication on Monday, 9th April, 2018. The university has made it compulsory for all the departments to route all forms of media communication through his office.
The notice from the SU Registrar stated, “Academic research, students activities, extra-curricular activities etc. go on round the year in every department of the University. A meeting was held under the chairmanship of in-charge vice-chancellor Kalam Dadiya to brainstorm and prepare a plan to highlight these activities through positive news and thereby further improve the image of the varsity. It was decided to assign Kirit Pathak, Assistant Registrar (Legal Department) the responsibility of coordinating and streamlining the process of communicating such events to the media.”
This meeting, which was held in the first week of April, was attended by administrative officers belonging to the several departments of the university.
The release issued by SU added that the heads of the 28 post-graduate departments and the 27 administrative sections of the university would have to contact the office of the assistant registrar in order to publish or share anything in the press.
The office of the Assistant Registrar would serve the purpose as the sole media coordinator for the university. The departments are henceforth not allowed to directly interact with the media.
Some heads of the departments expressed discontentment with the arrangement, questioning the decision of the university and calling it an apparent attempt to gag teachers of the SU.
Vice-Chancellor Dadiya refuted the claim of the department heads. He stated that this was just a mechanism for streamlining communication. He denied censorship concerns and assured that this was not a rigid arrangement. “From our side, some streamlining of media communication is required. Our interest is that we can communicate with media better. Any news-related information you will get only from one place,” he further added.