Published: 18th February 2019
VC did not come for the meeting, CUTN students restart hunger strike
The university's Vice-Chancellor was supposed to meet the protesting students on Monday morning
The students of the Central University of Tamil Nadu have resumed their hunger strike, as their meeting with the Vice-Chancellor Dr AP Dash got delayed. The students who were protesting over the sudden dismissal of two faculty members of the English Department were addressed by the Registrar on Saturday, who promised them that the VC will meet them on Monday.
"The VC is yet to meet us. We were told that he will meet us in the morning, but now, they (the administration) have told us that he will be back only at night. We do not if he is even going to meet us," said a protesting student. The students have been asked by the administration to back off from the strike on various occasions. They also accused the administration of targetting and threatening. "Parents of a lot of protestors were called by the faculty. Also, many of us are told that our internal marks will be cut and that our character conduct certificates won't be signed," she adds. Following the hunger strike, two students were hospitalised on Saturday.
Two guest faculty members from the English department, S Saranya and Aazhi Arasi from the English department were dismissed from the university at the beginning of the month. The protestors are demanding the dismissal to be revoked. The teachers also served as the university's new girls' hostel wardens.
We also accessed a letter that the students are about to present to the Vice Chancellor. Through that, they have asked him to look into three demands put forward by the students — Revoke the termination of the faculty members, form an independent committee headed by the Vice Chancellor which looks into the issues of threatening and humiliation of students by the higher authorities, which takes action against the accused in a very short span of time and to ensure that students who initiated the protest shall not face any academic or personal vengeance from the higher authorities. "The students and the faculty here are targetted and humiliated by the administration. We do not want these incidents to happen," said another student, adding, "Even now, we're afraid. But we will take this strike forward."
The university administration, on the other hand, denied all the claims by the students. "The two faculty were dismissed because they were biased towards the students, did not adhere to the disciplinary code of conduct and misbehaved with the registrar," said Dr Kavitha L, the hostel chief warden. "These students are protesting to tarnish the university's image." She added that only 20 students are protesting and no students were hospitalised. Refuting her claims, the students said that they can produce any document to prove her wrong. "Those two students are also protesting now, regardless of their health condition," a student said.