Published: 11th September 2020
Students welcome AUD’s decision to reinstate SC, ST fee waiver until next year, no official word yet
The University has said that they would extend this waiver for another one year and a decision would be taken only next year
After students took to social media to protest against Ambedkar University Delhi’s decision to scrap the SC, ST fee waiver for those with incomes above 3 lakh rupees, the administration decided to revoke it. While the University is yet to release an official statement, students said that they were informed about the decision — much to their relief.
The Ambedkar University Delhi Students' Council said in a statement that they were elated to inform the student community that a 'timely protest' had forced AUD to decide not to scrap the full fee waiver, "In the Board of Management (BoM) meeting that took place yesterday (8 September), it was decided by the 10 voting members present to continue the existing full fee waiver policy. However, the BoM members have also put the policy on ‘review’ for the current academic year and have set up a ‘reviewing committee’ to study it. "
"It was through the proactiveness of students since then, through writing articles on social media, sharing the news with different news agencies, and finally, coming to campus during a pandemic, surrounded by armed police and protesting directly in front of the administration, that the outcome of BoM changed so drastically," the Council said in its statement.
The Student Council and the Dalit Bahujan Adivasi Collective stormed social media after a student who had applied for a course at the University was told she would have to pay the full fees despite the fact that she was a student from a minority community since her family income was above three lakh rupees per annum. Students demanded that the University make its stance clear and condemned the decision. When we reached out to the University, we were told that the ‘University is a State University. The proposed decision regarding fee waiver is in accordance with the policy of GoI and GNCTD. In the proposed policy, all SC/ST students as well as students of other categories, who fall in the specified income criteria, will get 100% fee waiver.’
On Thursday, the students began to celebrate after hearing that the administration had revoked their decision, “The University has said that they would extend this waiver for another one year and a decision would be taken only next year. They have a notice but it hasn’t been made public yet,” a student at the forefront of these protests said. When we reached out to the University, the administration said that a meeting was underway and the minutes of the same would be released soon.
The administration implemented this fee waiver after the suicide of Rohith Vemula, which had led to large scale protests at the time. All students with SC, ST backgrounds were given complete fee waivers. However, this year, the University said that they would provide waivers only for those students with families that were earning less than 3 lakh per annum. The students argued that this was unfair since this income slab was set ages ago and didn’t apply to the current scenario and also argued that Economically Weaker Category Students from Upper Castes were being given a limit of 8 lakh rupees as the income slab. Another issue that the students brought up was about the University making it mandatory for students to acquire a caste certificate from NCT of Delhi even if they were from other states.
The Council in its statement said that their struggle was far from over, " AUD has taken another regressive measure by changing the definition of who classifie as a domicile of NCT-Delhi. The changed rules for Reservation arising out of this are solely directed at reducing the accessibility of AUD to SC/ST/OBC students. Secondly, AUD's decision to overlook hard fact of pandemic and ask over 25,000 rupees as is gross injustice."