A Counter-Appeal to a manipulative administration to respond to students’ demands or vacate the unprincipled occupation of administrative posts
The JNU student community “makes a fervent appeal” to the administration “to desist from the unlawful occupation and blockade of” top administrative posts in view of the fact that these posts are established to serve public interests and not for gaining political mileage and fuel personal egos.
Fifteen days have passed since “the students who have been sent by their parents from different parts of the country to study and research in JNU” have been engrossed in a blockade to protest against the May 2016 UGC Gazette; however, the Vice Chancellor has not addressed the students even once! Despite several letters from Teachers and Students requesting a meeting, the Vice Chancellor has refused to engage in any dialogue and instead of communicating a concrete time and date for such a meeting, he has only engaged in creating a facade of appeals and requests by misusing the university website, student mailing lists and the media for personal media attention!
The student community feels that the Vice Chancellor and his counsel must step down in view of the confusion they are creating through their appeals. In one appeal (14-2-2017), the Vice Chancellor claims: “Any individual faculty member or student interested in meeting the VC and the JNU administration are most welcome to meet and share their views”. However, when so many students of his university express their desire of “meeting and sharing their views with the VC”, his registrar says in the next appeal (21-2-2017) that “The best of dialogues can take place only between student representatives and Administration officials. But the agitating students are insisting that the Vice Chancellor must come and answer questions at mass gathering of students!” He goes on to call this desire to meet “unreasonable and quarrelsome”: “It is like asking for public trial of the Vice Chancellor for seeking to implement the UGC Gazette notification on M. Phil/PhD admission!”(23-2-2017) The JNU Student community is “aghast” at these attempts at playing victim and creating unnecessary panic. The “laughable” appeals are “condemnable” as it is already clear to the student community that rather than engaging in any productive dialogue to resolve the present crisis, the administration is more interested in staging a drama to show fake concern over the dysfunctioning of the administrative block!
Recognising that academic, financial and other academic work (related to fellowships, PhD Viva, Mark sheets and Degree Certificates, salary bills, and essential services like medical bills) were getting affected due to the blockade, the students decided to open the Ad block phase wise till the 2nd March. However, the Vice Chancellor directed the staff to not enter the premises till he and his counsel are allowed to enter. The Student Community is quite amused to see this display of egoism which just shows that the VC is himself interested in continuing the blockade and delaying important work and decisions to gain media mileage as a victim of agitating students!
This only pushes the student community to wonder: Does the Vice chancellor even “care for the thousand plus contractual labourers who have suffered” because of his silence on the UGC Gazette issue? Does he wish to resolve this issue or just wants to “continue shedding crocodile tears by invoking “social justice” arguments” in his appeals? Does he worry at all “when the university has lost huge sums of money, that that are actually the country’s taxpayers’ money” due to his silence on the UGC Gazette issue and his unprincipled blockade of communication and democratic procedures? Does his office “respect academics, when official papers of faculty and students related to their academic engagements in India and abroad are not processed” due to his denial of communication with agitating students? Who will be responsible when students from marginalised communities will not be able to apply to JNU because of the implementation of the UGC Gazette? Who will be responsible when the three part exam will completely dilute the quality of research in JNU? Who will be responsible when the high viva-voce weightage will continue to encourage discrimination against students from different social backgrounds? All these repercussions “are ironically not considered law and order problems” by the JNU Administration!
Hence, the JNU Student Community is of the opinion that the Vice Chancellor and his office have made a mockery out of all ‘democratic’ procedures and modes of communication. They are only interested in spreading myths about democratic dialogue while being absolutely rigid and resolute to pursue their own agenda, that is, ignore the Abdul Nafey Committee recommendations and implement the anti-student May 2016 UGC Gazette. In the past 15 days, they have only insulted adult, conscientious students of their university by calling them “unruly”, “unreasonable” and their demands “ridiculous”, “illogical”, “mindless” and “unwarranted”.
“Before the students, teachers, staff and karamcharis of the university lose their current level of tolerance and patience” at an administration that is so unresponsive to their demands, the Vice Chancellor should abandon the unlawful path of conceit and accept their demands in a reconvened Academic Council meeting:
– Implement the Nafey Committee Recommendations
– Scrap the draconian UGC Gazette Notification
– No seat cut at any level of admission
– Roll back fee hike
– Reject 3-level qualifying exam for M.Phil/PhD. admission
– Implement minority deprivation points
– Implement reservations in direct PhD. Admission
– Implement OBC reservations in faculty posts
“JNU has been a great source of inspiration to millions of students and teachers of other educational institutions of the country for decades”. “But the mode of…” administrative highhandedness that the Vice Chancellor and his counsel have been demonstrating for close to a year “…is anything but inspiring”! It has only pushed students to engage in strong forms of protest like gheraos, protests and blockades and the administration is solely responsible for creating such an environment. Hence, the JNU Student community yet again makes an appeal to the administration to keep the interests of students above narrow political gains, personal media mileage, alleged victimhood and opportunism and pay heed to the demands of students from diverse social and economic backgrounds, and immediately end the occupation and blockade that the administration is hell bent on imposing on different levels of higher education!
“JNU Student Community”
*This appeal simply reworks the numerous appeals issued by the administration towards a more truthful account of what has been happening in JNU since 10th Feb 2017. All the quotations are from appeals on www.jnu.ac.in.
By Ajanta, Akash, Amrit, Anubhuti, Aprameya, Krupa, Rohith, Subodh, Swathi.