Published: 06th February 2020
#FeesMustFall: Pondy University students boycott classes after administration fails to rollback fee hike
The Students' Council previously went on an indefinite hunger strike against the imposed transportation fee and hiked academic fee, the issue has still not seen an end
The students of Pondicherry University Students' Union (PUSU) have called for the boycott of classes — once again — to protest against the transportation fee and hiked academic fees imposed on them. The students are resuming the protests after calling it off for a bit when the administration promised to set up a grievance committee to address the issues they were facing. However, nothing allegedly came out of their meetings. Several students gathered at the protest today as the student leaders explained what had gone on in the meetings and why they thought it was necessary to start the protests.
Last year, the Students' Council went on an indefinite hunger strike against the imposed transportation fee and hiked academic fee. "As a result, the PU administration put a hold on the transportation fee and formed a grievance committee including students to discuss the issues of transportation and academic fees," they said. This grievance committee came into being after the Students' Council 2019-20 was elected.
"Since then, there were many meetings held with the administration but they have not had a positive approach to the worries of the students. Despite several meetings and negotiations, the administration stands adamant on the increased academic fee and imposed transportation fee," the students said in their statement.
Since nothing positive came out of the meetings, the students decided that they would go ahead with a struggle against the 'draconian administration'. "It is important for all of us to realise that education is not a commodity for sale and as a central university, the higher education in PU should be accessible to students of all economic and social backgrounds. We oppose the agenda of MHRD and the Pondicherry University administration, who are trying to exclude a section of students from acquiring access to higher education in the country," they explained.
Since 10 am this morning, the students have been boycotting classes and gathered at Ponlait junction and will march to the administrative block. The previous academic year the students took on a huge protest when the administration hiked the fees for the courses drastically in the prospectus without consulting with the Students' Union. After the Union went on a protest, the administration reduced the fees for MBA/MCA/MSc Computer Science courses. Even the PhD fees were reduced. Following that struggle, the Union launched another against the transportation and fee hike.
"As the Council called for boycott, the registrar released a circular - in an attempt to curtail the protest asking for departments to forward details of the students who boycott classes. Regardless of these threats, hundreds of students joined the massive march," students said. The Students Council has proposed that the strike would go on indefintely till the concerns are met.
Only recently, JNU students concluded a long-lasting struggle against the fee hike after the High Court passed an order in their favour.
We have contacted the PU administration for comment. The story will be updated when they respond.