Published: 27th August 2019
Student groups slam TISS Hyderabad for issuing show-cause notices before giving promises in writing
After the institute reopened, some of the GoI students had received accommodation and been allowed to follow the previous year's payment pattern but nothing has been given to them in writing
In a statement condemning the issue of show-cause notices to 30 students on campus, the Bahujan Collective, TISS Hyderabad also mentioned that till date, that not a single GoI scholar has received a written proposal regarding the assurances that the administration had made to the students — despite the fact that the scholars had sent several emails requesting the same.
After the sine-die was lifted and the institute reopened, some of the GoI students had received accommodation and been allowed to follow the previous year's payment pattern. But the students had said at that point that they had, however, not received any written document stating the arrangements that had been made. The method that the institute used to pick the students who would receive the accommodation was also questioned — as there continue to be GoI students struggling for accommodation, according to the students.
How were these students picked and on what basis?
Student representatives had said that only those students who had attended a meeting called by the administration were given accommodation, which was unfair since the others were either not on campus or didn't attend because of the ongoing turmoil on campus. Among the 30 students issued the show-cause notice, 18 are women students and more than half are Bahujan students. While urging that the notices be revoked, the student body also asked the administration to provide clarity to the GoI scholars about the fee payment and demanded that a mechanism be brought into place to fill the gaps as was demanded by the protesting students.
The Bahujan Collective also called the notices a regressive act of the institute and said they were forced to go on protest, "The SAC met the administration regarding the hostel tariff and the response from the administration was despicable as it shrugged off responsibility. It was under desperate circumstances that the student agitation was called," the student body said.
"The act of issuing a sine-die notice to close the campus when GoI scholars were waiting for the proposal presented orally by the convenor of the SC/ST Cell in the meeting with the GoI scholars also added to the misery of Bahujan students who were contemplating to leave the course due to unaffordable hostels," they stated.
The notices are being universally panned
Several other students groups also condemned the notices, including the Students of the School of Gender Studies, the Progressive Students' Forum and the TISS Students' Union have issued their statements in the matter. The TISS Students' Union in their statement said that the students had all the right to protest since the hostel fees were in fact, unaffordable for many students. "We are extremely disheartened that TISS has resorted to penalising students for standing up to safeguard the inclusivity and accessibility of the campus in a peaceful and democratic manner. To misinterpret facts and brand legitimate protests as 'indiscipline' goes against the very grain of every ideal that TISS purports to stand for," they said.
Pointing out to the fact that the Institute had undermined the autonomy of the students by sending the notice to the parents, the Union said that the notice was causing anxiety and anguish to students who were already facing innumerable pressures. "Such an underhanded move is categorically meant to intimidate students," the Union said.
The Progressive Students' Forum said that the 30 students had been specifically targetted and call it the strategy of the administration to divide the students. "We strongly condemn this act of bullying students and demand the administration to take back the notices. The right to dissent against discriminatory policies is being curbed," they stated.
The students of the School of Gender Studies pointed out to the fact that women students receiving show-cause notices could act as a deterrent to them joining academic institutions like TISS. "It is grave also because the emails were sent to the parents of the students, which has not only worried them, it could potentially lead to them discouraging their children's future in the institute," the student group said.