Published: 14th August 2019
MCC to now charge students upto 20,000 a day to rent their halls for college events
Students have to allegedly pay Rs 20,000 for the Anderson Hall and Rs 5000 to rent out the Agnes Martin Hall. For half a day, it is 14,000 and 2,500 rupees respectively
The one thing that makes Madras Christian College stand out, is the fact that there is some sort of activity happening within the woods almost every other day. Either there are college auditions or theatre performances or inter-hall fests. Space was never a constraint because all you had to do was making your booking early and the two main halls — the Anderson Hall and the Agnes Martin Hall were all yours. This year on though, that has changed, ostensibly because the auditorium has been air-conditioned. Students now have to pay to be able to hold events in their own campus and it is no paltry amount, according to their claims.
Students have told us that they now allegedly have to pay Rs 20,000 as rent for the newly-air-conditioned Anderson Hall and Rs 5000 to rent out the Agnes Martin Hall. For half a day, it is Rs 14,000 and Rs 2,500 respectively.
A lot of the alumni were surprised to hear of this since so far, the students have only been required to book the hall in advance but were not expected to pay any money for them. Some of the students also reached out to some alumni to help out with the funds. "If we don't use the AC at Anderson and conduct it in the open, we don't have to pay. But if we want to use the AC, we are required to pay 20,000 for a day," a student said. It was only a few months ago that the decades-old Anderson Hall, that has been witness to many great performances and landmarks in the 182-year-old college's history, was renovated and made into an AC hall.
"The new rates could be because they've installed ACs but it's still a very large sum for us to pay," the student said. As a result, students now need to get sponsorships to pay for the auditoriums, but some of them are forced to pay from their own pockets because they don't find it easy to get sponsorships for smaller events like holding auditions. "This time for the theatre club auditions I had to ask my mother and grandmother for money," a student said.
For their large events, like their annual cultural fest Deepwoods the students are asked to get sponsors since it is inter-collegiate and popular bands and artistes are invited to perform. But for smaller inter-department, inter-hall fests or events, the students have never had to pay for the auditoriums. According to a student leader, the college invests about 14 lakh in the College Union Society's budget to organise all the events through the year. "The first year that I was here, we made a profit but last year, there was a deficit of 6.43 lakh which we were able to clear eventually. So this year, they have told us that we have to use only 12 lakh for Deepwoods and only two lakh for all the other events, which is absolutely impossible. Now we have to pay for the halls too," a student said.
The budget cuts are getting steeper and steeper, at a time when the Indian economy isn't seeing too many great days. "For the college auditions, our budget is usually 1,20,000 rupees, this time they gave us 50,000 and brought it down to 40,000," they added. It is also mandatory now for students to get permission for Anderson Hall directly from the Principal, according to the students.
The students say the administration is stricter in other aspects as well, "Previously we had 22 On Duty days every semester, now we have only 10. And every time we want an OD slip approved, we have to get a signature from the CUS Vice President and submit it to our HOD. They've done this because, last year, students took advantage of ODs and misused them but just giving us 10 days for extracurricular activities. This is extremely unfair," the student added.
When we got in touch with Principal Dr R W Alexander Jesudasan, he initially said that the information was wrong but also added that it was an internal matter. He said it was a democratic campus and they would deal with any issues they have internally, "It is an internal matter, a family matter. We don't need any external interferences in any of our internal issues," he said.
When we got in touch with a couple of other colleges around the city, they said they did not have to pay any fees to rent out their halls but just book them in advance.