Published: 17th August 2020
#CannotpayWillnotpay: Students from 35 departments at PU boycott semester fees, calling it a burden
Pondicherry University students have raised several objections regarding the payment of next fees while they are at home and classes have not been conducted regularly due to the pandemic
The Pondicherry University Students' Council (PUSC) has begun a virtual campaign using the hashtags #lootingthelooted and #Cannotpaywillnotpay and it has garnered the support of students from 35 departments including Computer Science, Food and Science Technology and more until now, who are also calling for the boycott of the next semester fees. Even after continuous talks for the past few weeks with the Pondicherry University administration regarding the students' inability to pay the semester fees, the varsity has not yet withdrawn any of it.
As of Monday, the deadline for paying the next semester fees remains on August 19, to the students' dismay. Students, who are not even on campus since the pandemic hit have raised several objections regarding the fees and stated that the varsity is burdening them with this.
P Parichay Yadav, President, PUSC said, "The university gave a deadline for August 19 to pay the semester fees. We began the campaign against paying the semester fees recently as we gave a lot of letters and representations earlier and the administration hasn't said anything officially. It is a mass mail campaign and we have also been collecting video testimonials of students speaking about their inability to pay the fees, to post on our social media platforms. Nearly 35 departments have supported us until now. The administration might extend the deadline but how will the students pay the fees? The economy is in a downturn, thousands are losing their jobs, states are stuck in landslides and floods, how can you force students to pay money when the classes are not even happening? We will continue this campaign and more until the fees are withdrawn."
Aniljith Mathew from Kerala, a student at PU says his house was flooded due to the recent rains in the state. "The pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has already made our life miserable. Above that we were also affected by floods, my whole house was flooded and we are not able to even meet our daily needs. So in this difficult situation, I am not able to pay the fees. When we are going through these uncertain times, when our incomes are stopped, asking us to pay the fees for the facilities we are not getting is injustice," he added.
The tales of strife just keep coming. "It has been four months since the lockdown began, the situation is getting worse day by day. In the previous semester, we had paid the entire semester fees even though we did not have a few classes for the past two months. After that, we were forced to pay the examination fees which have not been conducted yet. Now, we are being asked to pay the fees for the new semester which includes charges for facilities like library, lab, sports etc. I request the administration to look into the matter and not make this a burden for the students, who are already struggling to meet their daily needs in the current situation," said another student Manasa V S.
The PUSC has been sending letters, emails and representations on the same to the administration since the beginning of this month explaining to them the dire situations students are in due to the pandemic and its economic impact. "Forcing the students to pay a huge amount as semester fees now, that too by a public educational institution is unacceptable. The demand for semester fees is also inadmissible because none of the university amenities is being used now. We have no access to classrooms or labs and students are at their homes. Why should the students currently pay for unused facilities?" the students' council said in their one of their letters on August 12.
We tried contacting the administration but haven't received a response yet. The copy will be updated if/when we receive a response.