Published: 23rd March 2021
Madras University protest: With COVID closing colleges, suspended students in the dark over exams, what comes next
The police reportedly took the students to meet the Registrar but nothing productive came of the meeting. With COVID closing all colleges down, will the protest fizzle out?
Protesting students from the University of Madras who were suspended on Saturday are now worried about what the future holds as colleges across the state shut down on Tuesday. The students are not sure if they would be allowed to attend the online classes or attempt the internal exams due to start on Wednesday.
The protesting students of the University were taken into custody on Monday morning and released by the police the same night. The students have been protesting on and off against the Archeology department faculty for 'unfairly' marking their tests and refusing to re-evaluate their papers or releasing it to them. The protests intensified after a female student protestor alleged that the HOD of the Archaeology Department had inappropriately touched her during an argument. After the college suspended the students, including the complainant and did not take action against the accused, the female student had even allegedly attempted to harm herself.
When protests continued, the police were called on campus and after detaining then the whole day, they were taken to meet the Registrar in the evening but nothing productive came of the meeting, “We demanded that the suspension be withdrawn and action be taken on the student’s complaint. We also demanded that the issue with our exam results be solved too,” a student said. “The police threatened to hit us when we refused to accept the Registrar’s demands,” he added.
The All India Women’s Association and the SFI also extended their support to the protestors. Since the government announced that colleges will be shut down, the students are unsure of what is going to happen next. Today, the students were not allowed on the campus but they could not even access the online classes, they alleged. “Our internal exams are also starting from tomorrow and we don’t know if we will even be allowed to write it. We have rung up the administration several times to clarify but nobody picks up. We are not sure at all about what is going to happen,” a student said.
The students said they were consulting a lawyer in order to get the administration to withdraw the suspension order, the female student is also allegedly considering taking legal action.
The issue started after students claimed that they were unfairly failed in a paper by the department and were demanding that their paper be graded by professors from outside their University. The students said that the issue started in December, when their semester exams were allegedly scheduled at the same time as their internships and when they protested members of the faculty were unhappy. The students claim they were failed because of this tiff that they had with the teachers. Despite demanding their answer sheets and demanding a reevaluation, the students were not being passed in the test. This is why the students had launched the protest.