Published: 18th February 2020
Unhappy with 20% fee reduction offer, Pondicherry University strike enters 13th day
The students hope that the issue is solved before the University's convocation on February 26 where VP Venkaiah Naidu will be the chief guest
After their meeting with the grievance committee didn't yield any positive response, the Pondicherry University Students' Council (PUSU) has called for the protests to be continued. The students will now be entering their 13th day of protest against the administration for hiking the academic fees by almost 200 percent and also imposing a transportation fee on them.
The students had their first meeting with the newly constituted committee on Thursday and had told Edex that they hoped for a positive outcome because the members had listened to their concerns patiently and had promised to come up with a solution. They were called for a follow-up meeting on Monday but the SU President Parichay Yadav and his team were not happy with the recommendations that the committee had proposed to them. The committee had suggested a 20 percent reduction for students from economically backward communities. "Where is a 200 percent hike and a 20 percent reduction for economically backward students? And they did not tell us how they would decide the eligibility of the students who would get a fee reduction," Parichay said.
Yadav said that they were not at all happy with the proposal the administration was making, "When we told them that we were not happy they came up with excuses like the University was facing a cash crunch and that some departments did need the money to improve learning. But that doesn't mean the students have to face the brunt and we've also seen how much members of the administration get paid, so we cannot be struggling because the University can't generate funds," he explained.
The students have therefore decided to continue their struggle despite the fact that interactions with two grievance councils have gone in vain. So what do they expect can happen now? "The convocation is on February 26 and the Vice President is going to be our guest. So I'm sure the University wants to end the protest before that, so we hope they will come to a solution soon enough," Parichay said.
Since the students have been facing repercussions of participating in the protest from their department heads, the Union is telling students to attend classes if they need to and come to the protest when they have the time. "We have been taking out marches and sitting on protests but we understand that students need to attend classes too because they are facing threats from faculty. So they can attend classes but also join us when they can," he said.
We have reached out to the administration for a comment and will update this copy with the same when we receive it.