Published: 09th August 2022
IIT Bombay fee hike row: Unofficial meeting a stalemate, protest to continue, say students. Admin claims matter resolved
The faculty of the institution is said to have met the students yesterday, and are expected to release a statement of solidarity today
The ongoing hunger strike and protest at IIT Bombay has reached an impasse, with an "unofficial" meeting between four representatives from the IIT Bombay Students Against Fee Hike group and senior members of the administration on August 8, Monday.
"We were told this is an unofficial meeting, and they will only listen to our demands, and that this was not a negotiation. We raised our concerns about the fee hike. We stressed on the massive tuition fee hike for MTech and PhD courses, and said that this burden should not be passed onto the students since this is a public institution. However, through the meeting, we got a sense that the administration was unwilling to do anything about it," said a representative from the group to EdexLive.
According to the group, the institution has already collected Rs 97,000 as admission fee from the fresh batch of MTech students joining this year. When the students objected to this, the administration, according to the student representatives, said that they will consider taking only a token amount at the time of admission from the next academic year, and allow students to pay the fee throughout the year.
However, this response also left the students dissatisfied. They also brought up the hike in the additional fees such as medical fee, students accident insurance fund, exam fee, hostel fee and others. "They are collecting the medical fee and the accident insurance fund, but we don't know what it is for. When we asked, the administration said that the medical policy was currently being drafted," a student representative shared.
The administration then informed the students that a meeting of the fee committee will be convened soon to discuss the matter. At this point, the students made three demands. Firstly, they asked for a date for the meeting. Then, they requested the administration to postpone the fee payment deadline of August 19 in light of this meeting. And lastly, they demanded that the administration agrees to a percentage figure by which they will cut the fee hike. All three demands were declined. "And therefore, we are left with no option to continue with the protest," the student declared.
However, this sentiment about the meeting was not echoed by the administration. A spokesperson from IIT Bombay, Falguni Banerjee said to EdexLive, "The matter has been resolved, and the students have agreed to what was said in the meeting. We will issue a statement on the same tomorrow."
Faculty to rally behind students?
Yesterday, August 8, around 20 faculty members of IIT Bombay also met to discuss the matter. The students say that they came to meet with them, and expressed solidarity with their demands. "We have been told that the faculty will release a statement of solidarity with us today," said the students.
On the other hand, the institution's spokesperson said that there was no need for any solidarity because the matter has been resolved.