Published: 01st July 2020
Are Pondicherry University profs calling parents and complaining about students' late-night outs to get them to vacate hostels?
While the PU students have been staying on campus for the past three months, the administration now wants them to vacate the hostel amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis
Following a notice asking students to vacate the hostels immediately on June 26, the Pondicherry University has now allegedly come up with new tactics to get the students to vacate the hostels amid the ongoing Coronavirus crisis - students have alleged that professors are calling their parents and complaining that they're out at night and calling their character into question, in a bid to get them to go back home.
P Parichay Yadav, the president of the Pondicherry University Students' Council alleged that the Vice-Chancellor doesn't want to discuss this. "The faculty has been calling up parents of students who reside in the hostel stating that their wards come back late at night or insinuate that they are of questionable character. This is completely unnecessary and is a kind of harassment that is being meted out to the students. A few students left despite the risk factor but there are many who are stranded," he alleged.
For some students, it's not just a matter of a health risk while travelling back home but the expenditure and subsequently the bad internet connection back home. "We have been here for the past three months. When the first lockdown was imposed we couldn't go home. For some of us, it is extremely expensive to go home as we have to travel from one part of the country to the other. So, we decided to stay back thinking that the lockdown would be over in a month or so. But that is not the case now. I personally am stuck here as my viva exam can be conducted any time now. The administration suggested that I go back home and take the test online. What they don't understand is that once I go back home there might not be good internet facilities at all times. Not all of us have fast internet back home," said a student pursuing his PhD at the varsity, requesting anonymity.
He added that he had gone home once at the beginning of this year while he was awaiting his PhD thesis report. However, his guide asked him to come back to campus for corrections and modifications, but he insisted that the student should get back. "I got permission to stay at the hostel until my viva is completed, which was supposed to take place in April or May. But then the pandemic struck and all the academic activities were suspended. It is actually quite safe for us students to stay inside the campus as we have been restricting ourselves and following all kinds of social distancing norms. But this is kind of mental torture as they are pressurising us to leave the premises. Even if we leave now, there are quarantine measures to be taken at our respective states, which is also quite scary and we might get infected while travelling. Rather than asking us to vacate the administration can provide us with safety measures which we are ready to follow. But yesterday also the varsity officials came and asked us to leave. We do not know yet what will happen," added the student.
The notice on June 26 had stated: "Due to Coronavirus infestation in many areas of the Pondicherry Region, day by day and also positive cases are identified in the University campus itself and admitted in hospitals, considering the safety of the students. you are advised to vacate the hostel immediately, since there will be no end semester examinations and academic activities up to October 2020. In order to safeguard yourself, you are requested to proceed to your respective places by applying to the respective State Governments to bring back the stranded people or they can apply to Puducherry Government for getting passes under the movement of stranded people migration scheme and leave the hostel immediately and stay with your parents, with the intimation to the authorities."
The notice also addressed parents, "By considering the safety of your son/daughter, you are requested to advise the student to vacate the hostel immediately and return to your place immediately, through the proper way."
The PU Students’ Council had written to the administration on June 27 requesting them to not pressure the students to vacate the hostels amid the lockdown. The Council stated in its letter that the students being asked to vacate during this uncertain time is extremely risky. "Additionally, there are no proper transportation facilities available to students during this lockdown. Further, even if they get an e-pass and arrange transportation, they’d have to take their flights or train to their hometowns from Chennai, which is a COVID-19 hotspot, exposing themselves to unprecedented risk."
We have tried repeatedly to reach the administration but haven't received any response yet. This copy will be updated if/when they do.