Siddharth Joshi and Deepak Malghan, both from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, write in Economic & Political Weekly:
“On 24 January 2017, the union cabinet cleared the way for the introduction of the Indian Institutes of Management Bill in Parliament (Press Information Bureau 2017). An earlier version of this draft legislation that was first mooted in 2015 had run into controversy over potential breach of institutional autonomy. The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) argued that the 2015 draft amounted to regulatory overreach that could stifle the academic environment at the IIMs.
In the ensuing public debate, a central predicament for contemporary universities (especially public institutions)—ensuring social diversity—has received scant attention even as the larger public discourse in the past year has focused on making our universities more diverse, accessible, and inclusive. In this brief snapshot, we present data detailing the lack of social diversity in faculty composition at the IIMs. Institutional autonomy is necessarily tied to social accountability, and we argue here that the neglect of social diversity at IIMs severely undermines their social legitimacy as public institutions. In this brief commentary, we do not offer specific prescriptions, or even strategies for amelioration. A deliberation on specific interventions is perhaps futile and certainly premature in the absence of a clear normative commitment to faculty diversity at the IIMs. We defend faculty diversity as an important constituent of the IIMs’ academic mission as well as their larger social compact. “