FUTA seeks academic unions’ opinion on new Colombo Uni Chancellor

  • One faculty already opposes move to appoint Ven. Muruththettuwe Thera

BY Pamodi Waravita

The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA) yesterday (4) said that they have inquired from the academic unions at the University of Colombo regarding their stance on the appointment of Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera as the new Chancellor of the university.

“We have already inquired from the academic unions about the stance they hope to take on the matter and we hope to hear back from them by today (5),” FUTA President Prof. S. Banneheka told The Morning yesterday.

It is learnt that a faculty at the University of Colombo has already expressed its displeasure over the appointment.

Meanwhile, the Main Students’ Union at the University of Colombo, in a letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on 2 November, protested the appointment.

“The position of the Chancellor is the most respected position at any university. Although the Chancellor position does not mandate any administrative duties, the Chancellor position determines the university’s culture and respect. On behalf of the Student Body at the Colombo University, we stand against the recent appointment of Ven. Ananda Thera as its Chancellor,” said the letter.

The union further said that the appointment of a chancellor should not be done to serve a political purpose, and raised concerns over the implications this holds with regard to the independence of the university.

Ven. Ananda Thera was appointed as the Chancellor of the University of Colombo this week, with effect from 17 November. The monk’s Abhayarama Temple in Narahenpita was used by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa as his political headquarters, following his defeat at the 2015 presidential election. The monk also campaigned for the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) during the 2019 presidential election and the 2020 general election, although he has been critical of the current Government in the recent past.