Howz dat Jennings old boy?

Posted on October 19, 2007  /  10 Comments

“Had Sir Ivor Jennings been Vice Chancellor now we would be very happy”, said former president of the students’ council of the Peradeniya University, Udul Premaratne.
Speaking at a media briefing yesterday to explain the students’ position on the present controversy, surrounding the naming of a hostel, he said they did not have any problem with Sir Jennings who had rendered an immense service to the University.
He said the students have the right to name the hostel building after anyone they like because it was built following appeals made by them.
In 2003 Cabinet approval was given for a new hostel for the students to be built and the plan was to build it by 2005 but due to bribery and corruption which took place the date of completion was extended to 2007 Premarathne alleged. The students in 2005 they requested the Board of Directors to name the hostel after Rangitham Gunaratnam, who was a student leader during the 1989/90 insurrection.
According to Premaratne the current VC doesn’t have a good relationship with the students and the University employees. He also said a former Vice Chancellor is currently under investigation by the Commission to investigate cases of Bribery or Corruption.

“For the first time in our history a Vice Chancellor is being investigated and for the first time the University of Peradeniya was closed said the former student leader.
Students are involved in every problem the country is facing today said Udul Premaratne. Eight student leaders have been suspended alleging they caused damage to public property. The students have been accused by the Vice Chancellor of replacing the name of Sir Ivor Jennings by repainting someone else’s name on top of it.

By Supun Dias



  1. As a student of the University of Peradeniya I’m also totally agree with Udul. If the administration like to name a hostel in the name of Sir Ivor Jennings now they can ask from the government to build another hostel and name it by their will. But we want the freedom to name the new hostel as our wish.

  2. Yasaruwan,

    So why not the students build another hostel and name it after any Tom Dick and Harry they want? 🙂

  3. Mate,

    If student got what they ask a hostal, That is provided with govenment money and Govenment or their reps can name it what ever they like.

  4. Exactly, Anonymous. And Sir Ivor Jennings was not somebody who cleaned the toilets of the Peradeniya University, he was its founder. If a University senate cannot rename a building after its very founder, what is the use of having such a university?

    I do not know what has gone with the present generation of University students. This is the result of eating too much JVP punnakku. They have become so brainwashed that they reached a stage that they cannot think of anything of their own and just repeating whatever put to their mouth by the ata-pass JVP masters.

  5. Sir Ivor Jennings does not need a Hall at University of Peradeniya for his name to be glorified or remembered. Sir Ivor Jennings is remembered by a university with a better reputation, a longer history and a far more distinguished alumni than Peradeniya and it’s in the beautiful village of Cambridge. Sir Ivor Jennings is also the world renowned authority on Constitutional Law. This issue is not about Sir Ivor Jennings but its about values.

    The insurrection of 1989/90 is not a memorable point of Sri Lankan history. There are student leaders who lead insurrections and they are later remembered, but only when those insurrections are successful and have made a positive contribution to Society. What did the insurrection of 89/90 acheive? There was a lot of lives lost, property damaged and worst it wrecked the University system. Generations after that paid the price of that failed and aimless insurrection. Many rural youth whose only source of higher education was the local university would lounge around doing nothing for three years until the backlog was cleared. A backlog created by the insurrection. Is this what they want to commemorate?

    Even if there is some issue to be resolved with the University administration, is this the way to go about it? There is violence and there is crime. Is this what education teaches? I am sure you can be smart and creative and get the point across without getting hauled before courts. There are University students all over the world fighting for their rights without getting arrested. Sri Lankan students alas are not smart enough all they know is kick up a fuss, get arrested, close the University, mess it all up for the others, and what for…some minor matter.

    That is the whole problem..they are not smart enough. In the past Sri Lankan Universities produced people who held the limelight at an international level. What do we have now? I think they should stop worrying about the name of the Hall and concentrate on their books. But will they? Thats the problem.

  6. I first thought this to be an ideological issue, but I have second thoughts now. The Pro-JVP student unions have not expressed anything directly against Sir Ivor Jennings, most probable reason being they simply do not know who Jennings is. Probably never heard of the guy other than that he was a ‘sudda’ and ‘adhirajya vaadiyaaa’.

    I think JVP is more interested in naming the hostel by a past student leader for other reasons than ignoring Jennings. These are the reasons I can think of. (a) JVP needs to reassure its cadre in this difficult moment (they are losing membership in bulk) on its power within the universities (b) JVP needs some idols within universities and this is the best way (c) When the students ask what JVP has done for them they have something tangible to show by naming the hotels after their leaders. (“We fought and got that for you”)

    When the university student in first comment says “But we want the freedom to name the new hostel as our wish.” I think he means we=JVP rather than university students.

    So basicaly this has more to do with JVP’s plans for next election than with Sir Ivor Jennings.

  7. Sandaruwan, if you want to name a hostel after one of your dead terrorist buddies, build it with your own money. Sir Ivor Jennings was a great academic and there wouldn’t have been a Peradeniya University if it wasn’t for him. This is our tax money at work – your peasant farmers don’t pay any; so you don’t get the naming rights, comrade!

  8. JVP mother fuckers should be expelled from srilankan universities.
    They are ruing our whole university system.

  9. Dear All

    There are authorites that are entrusted legally to name a building, road or school. We could make our case, but yet the naming should be the responsibility of the legally entrusted body. If we start disobeying such laws of the country in this manner, the country will end up in chaose. So I hope most of us can agree that we should respect the law of the land (of course on conditions- see the next para).

    However, I do agree that the people who are entrusted to do certain things do not do those in a way acceptable to all the stakeholders. There should be civilized mechanisms to deal with such situations; but probably not forcefully; without taking law in to one’s own hands.

    I am eagerly waiting for the day, when all of us could objectivelly think of these kind of issues than trying to respond to those with emotions.

    These kind of eruptions should be used to look at our selves, our own society, than taking sides. I see us as a society with a tribal mentality. We cannot look above our own clans and work for the good of the larger society. So our hereos are from our own clan. We appreciate those who rob for us; those who kill for us; those who lie for us; knowing very well that robbing, killing and lieing is bad.

    I am not much interested of seeing justice out of this incident; it is something very trivial when looking at the more serious things happening around us; but if we can use this to reflect back on us, we would be able to learn much out of it.

    I appeal to the University students to look things objectively; who did more to the Peradeniya University and the university education in general; Can we answer this before we try to name this building. Is it Jennings or the other person? Why did we fail to realize it at the first place; was it not our tribal mentality. Could we change this way of thinking to see things objectively. Could we build up leaders whom will be appreciated by all Sri Lankans alike and not by a small tribe?

    Until such time, let the buildings not be named or let us use the names of flowers or plants, if you want to identify them. We can identify ourselves with flowers than probably any body else in the picture (With my appologies to Jennings).

    Let the sanity prevail. I know that the university students are capable of understanding the logic I tried to bring to the fore. Emotions blur our vision. I suppose currently the vision is blurred. It can happen to any one; Not only to university students.

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