HCU protests: Varsity issues clarification over "one-sided narrative"

The varsity says that the admin maintained communication about the fest with the students, contrary to claims of the opposite
From UoH...
From UoH...(Pic: Express)

The University of Hyderabad (UoH), more commonly known as the Hyderabad Central University (HCU) issued a series of clarifications in response to a protest conducted by the HCU Students’ Union yesterday, June 25, and the media coverage of the protest. 

To recall, the administration of HCU suspended five students, including HCUSU President Ateeq Ahmed for staging a protest in front of the guest residence of Vice-Chancellor Prof BJ Rao, in response to the cancellation of the varsity’s annual festival Sukoon in the early hours of May 18.

According to an earlier statement by the Public Relations Office released on the day of the intrusion, this was akin to a house arrest of the VC. The statement further went on to say that the VC and his family, including his elderly mother, were “subjected to mental torture”. 

Reiterating this, the university says that the students had to be removed through police intervention as they refused to vacate the premises despite appeals from senior university officials, including the Dean of Students' Welfare.

The university further claims that the officials maintained communication with HCUSU even before the incident, as there was a lot of back-and-forth between the university admin and the students about Sukoon, “contrary to claims of abrupt communication breakdowns”. 

The HCUSU’s dates for the fest reportedly clashed with the academic calendar of the varsity, yet they insisted on them, as per the university. This was “despite the administration's repeated advisories and efforts to coordinate suitable dates for SUKOON that would not disrupt academic activities.”

Moreover, multiple meetings and correspondences were conducted to address concerns and explain the reasons for postponing the festival, says the university, such as a logistical challenge highlighted by law enforcement agencies, and the implementation of the Model Code of Conduct until June 4, 2024, due to the Lok Sabha Elections.  

Furthermore, the varsity claims that the students still went on to stage the demonstration in front of the VC’s residence, despite ongoing dialogues, including a meeting that concluded at 10 pm on May 17, when the final decision to cancel the fest was made. 

The university emphasises that the decision to suspend the students and impose other forms of disciplinary action against them was taken following consultations from the Proctorial Board and disciplinary committees.

“These decisions were made in accordance with established protocols aimed at maintaining discipline and ensuring the safety and security of all members of the university community,” says the varsity.

Interestingly, the notice from the varsity also claims that the students met the VC and issued an unconditional public apology on June 20, and appealed for reconsideration of their punishment, which is scheduled for discussion at the upcoming Executive Council meeting of the university.

However, yesterday’s protests and the students' refusal to vacate the campus are their actions to exert pressure on the University Administration, the notice says. 

“We emphasise our commitment to upholding academic integrity and fostering a conducive environment for learning and scholarly activities,” the varsity says. 

The notice also states that the “omission” of “certain facts” by the media was “regrettable”.

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