Published: 19th March 2021
VC's answers not satisfactory: Ashoka University students call two-day strike to protest Subramanian, Mehta's resignation
The students are in the process of coming up with a list of demands that will be presented to the administration. They want to discuss the issue with the founders
Ashoka University has made headlines this week over the resignation of former Vice-Chancellor and Professor Pratap Bhanu Mehta, and former Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian who was also teaching at the varsity. While Subramanian found it "ominously disturbing" that the varsity could "no longer provide a space for academic expression and freedom", Mehta said that he felt his association with the university had become a "political liability". The students of the institution, who had started protesting yesterday with slogans like "This is not my Ashoka '', have planned to call a campuswide strike for the next two days.
While Ashoka University does not have a regular students' union, they do have a student government which acts exactly like a democratic setup that we are familiar with. The students have decided to call a strike for the next two days and hope that the teachers will also support them. While they haven't sent out a statement yet, a source in the students' government said, "We have planned to call for a strike for two days. Students on campus will organise sit-in protests and talk about issues that need to be discussed like what Ashoka stands for and what the ethos of the university are."
The students are in the process of coming up with a list of demands that will be presented to the administration. "The major demand is to meet the founders to find out their view on the whole issue. We are hoping that will be fulfilled soon. We also want some institutional changes to protect freedom of speech on campus. Our entire system is based on a liberal setup where the professors are able to teach what they want to teach and say what they want to," said a member of the student government who did not wish to be named.
The students say that the university is not only known for its academic achievements but for a liberal atmosphere as well. They added that students, teachers and even the administration are used to solving issues by dialogue. But this time it was different, said a student. "The news was broken to us from the outside and that is a major reason why it became such a big issue so fast. But we have been having discussions with the administration since then. Even though the Vice-Chancellor met us, her answers are not very satisfactory," said the student.