Published: 26th February 2021
UoH suicide: Teachers’ Association calls for marginalised students struggling with online access to be brought back to campus
The Association demanded that the administration immediately constitute a fact-finding committee to inquire into the reasons that led to the student’s suicide
The University of Hyderabad Teachers' Association has issued a statement on the demise of Asarelly Harshvardhan, a Masters student from the Telugu Department on February 20. The student died by suicide after consuming pesticides while in his hometown of Dewaluvada village in Kottapalli, Ramagundam. The student’s family and friends said that he had fallen into depression after he was given ‘zero’ attendance for online classes, despite attending them regularly.
The Association demanded that the administration immediately constitute a fact-finding committee to inquire into the reasons that led to the student’s suicide. Harshvardhan was an SC student from a remote village in Telangana. The FIR lodged at Kottapalli Police state stated that the 23-year-old had found out two days ago about his lack of attendance and had been upset. The Association has also demanded that authorities pay suitable compensation to the family for their ‘irreparable loss’.
The Association urged teachers to be empathetic to students especially during these times when they are suffering because of unequal access to online education, “Teachers should be empathetic to the students, especially those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, who may be unable to join the classes and make recordings of their classes available. It is extremely unfortunate that the students are unable to express their distress, especially given the mode of virtual teaching” They also urged students to reach out to the authorities as well as the association when they are dealing with any issues.
“We urge the authorities to allow the marginalised students back into the campus on priority. And ensure the digital access grant reaches the needy students immediately. We feel we must collectively evolve mechanisms to help students in distress — economic and/or psychological and respond to any assistance a teacher might need in addressing the problems of students,” the teachers wrote.
The teachers called for retrospection after the student’s suicide, “I think we all need to retrospect on the tragic suicide of our student especially in the context of online education and find ways to prevent any such incidents in future,” the UHTA office-bearers said.