“Will support students in as many ways as possible”: Ashoka University after students demand reservations

The university also announced plans to set up an Equal Opportunities Cell on the campus, which conducts a caste census and an annual Ambedkar Memorial Lecture event
Here's the whole statement from Ashoka University
Here's the whole statement from Ashoka University

Following protests at Ashoka University in demand of affirmative action, the university issued a statement, reiterating its commitment to student inclusivity. 

The university, on April 7 in an email to EdexLive, shares, “The ethos at Ashoka has always been inclusive and the University supports its students in as many ways as possible, including through financial, learning and well-being support.”

The protests

Starting on March 20, students of Ashoka University, led by the student collective Social Justice Forum launched a protest demanding a caste census among students, faculty and other staff members of the university as a first step to introducing reservations in admission and hiring, as well as the establishment of an annual Ambedkar Memorial Lecture on the themes of social justice. 

During their protests, the students also demanded that the penalties on fee-defaulting students be removed. It may be recalled that the protests began inside the campus and eventually shifted to outside the main gates. 

Eventually, the university’s administration agreed to these demands following a series of meetings with the protesting students between March 28 and April 3. The Social Justice Forum also sent proposals for the implementation of reservations in admission and financial aid to the administration. 

Furthermore, the Social Justice Forum temporarily called off the protest after receiving a written confirmation from Pro Vice-Chancellor Eswara Venkatesam, of the establishment of an Equal Opportunities Cell (EOC) in the university. The Pro VC further added that the cell is tasked with conducting an annual caste survey on the campus and organising an annual Ambedkar Memorial Lecture series.

More from the university

Acknowledging these developments, the university says, “Over the past few weeks, the University has been in conversations with various student groups, faculty and administrators on matters of diversity, inclusion and sensitisation. One of the measures emerging from these conversations is an Equal Opportunity Cell (EOC) having representatives from faculty, students and administrative staff.”

The protesting students were also informed that the proposals for reservations and financial aid would be discussed in the upcoming Governing Body Meeting, which will take place in two months. 

“Among the activities of the EOC are a lecture on themes on social justice and a socio-economic survey, details of which are yet to be firmed up,” says the university, informing that preparations are underway to implement these initiatives.

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