Published: 12th December 2019
JNU VC walks out of first face-to-face meeting with students since protests began
A notice from the Registrar Pramod Kumar had asked JNU hostel presidents to meet at the VC's office to discuss "hostel related issues with the JNU administration"
The Jawaharlal Nehru University administration, for the first time since the protests against the fee hike and hostel manual began, asked the hostel presidents to meet the Vice-Chancellor and administrative staff at 12.30 pm on December 12. But the VC, Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar, allegedly walked out when students directed their questions to him.
"The VC simply walked away when the hostel presidents asked him why the JNUSU was not included, why the IHA meeting was allowed to be conducted in an undemocratic way and why the EC members had to be almost kidnapped from the campus for a meeting off-campus," said sources privy to the discussion. "This meeting was an eyewash. Nothing but that. It was a formality that they had to do because the court wanted the administration to speak to us," said JNUSU councillor and member of student organisation BASO, Apeksha Priyadarshini.
"The VC was accompanied by the Dean of Students, Umesh Kadam and other officials. First they tried to convince us how the service and utility charges are justified. We said that students will not pay even a single paisa more. The VC did not reply to our demands but justified the October 28 IHA meeting and said that the meeting was legitimate. The VC also justified the EC meeting. Umesh Kadam was adamant that he will not notify the JNUSU. The VC wanted the Yamuna Hostel (fully privatised) model to be applied to all the hostels. We rejected such proposals," said one of the hostel presidents present at the meeting. "They even justified the 10 per cent annual hike. Nothing conclusive came out from the administration side. When the hostel presidents started to ask the VC questions he concluded the meeting and ran away," said the student.
A notice from the Registrar Pramod Kumar had asked JNU hostel presidents to meet at the VC's office to discuss "hostel related issues with the JNU administration".
During the meeting, the VC informed the students about the discussions he had with the HRD minister, secretary and UGC chairman, and stressed the need to expeditiously restore normal academic activities, including the conduct of the semester-end exams.
The VC explained to the hostel presidents about the revised hostel manual and the issues related to the hostel utility and service charges.
The discussions covered a wide range of issues including the extension of the current semester.
"It was a significant step towards normalising the situation in the university through deeper dialogue with the student leaders," the varsity administration said.
A majority of the students of the university are not writing the end-semester exams that were scheduled to commence today. The decision to boycott the examinations was finalised after the second day of attempted 'peace talks' between the students and the administration, mediated by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, fell flat on its face.
As the students moved towards the schools this morning to agitate in front of the schools, the Vice-Chancellor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar decided to attend office as the administrative block is now "free" of the students. But the protesting students assured that it will not be that way for too long. "We are currently protesting in front of the schools. So people have moved to the school side," said Apeksha.
The students also made it clear that they had never stopped any of the officials from going into the administrative block. "We have never said that we will not let him in. He did not come of his own free will. We are still open to having a dialogue," said JNUSU Vice-President Saket Moon.