Published: 09th June 2022
St Stephen's admission row: Students stage sit-in protest at DU for the second day
“We come at about 9:30-10 am in the morning and sit at the protest site till 8-8:30 at night. It is indefinite and we are planning to continue it as long as it takes," says a KYS member
The members of Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS) had organised a sit-in protest on June 7 at the Arts Faculty in the North Campus of Delhi University (DU), demanding for the varsity’s St Stephen’s College to withdraw its admission prospectus. The students, faculty members and even the DU administration have asked the college to roll back its allegedly unfair admission policy that has an 85:15 weightage criteria, attaching 85% to CUET scores and 15% to the interviews the college will conduct.
St Stephen’s has, however, refused to back down on its admission policy.
The sit-in protest has entered its second day and many students have taken part in it. “We come at about 9:30-10 am in the morning and sit at the protest site till 8-8:30 at night. The protest is indefinite and we are planning to continue it for as long as it takes, and the college takes down its policy,” said Harish Gautam, a member of KYS.
The issue has been taken to the Delhi High Court as well. “There is a hearing on the case on July 6 so our protest will continue till then, which is for a month, at the least,” he added.
“About 25 students from KYS sit at the site every day. The Law Faculty students are also present on the spot. Other than them, we have other students joining for a while and leaving. Students from Ramjas, Hindu, Kirori Mal and other colleges have also shown their support and have joined us. We are trying to mobilise more students from the campus colleges. We are going to the various colleges and distributing pamphlets, informing the students about our protest and inviting them to join in,” Harish said further.
As per their press release
According to a press release put out by KYS, the students had also started a signature campaign on Wednesday, June 8. “We are taking people’s signatures to gather support. Those who are coming to join the protest are also signing as a part of the campaign. And since we have to continue this protest for a long time, we are trying to make the protest site eventful. We have already put banners and posters on site, and students who sit there have placards. We are distributing booklets among the participants also. And we have planned to invite progressive artists to the spot as well. We will try to make the site more lively eventually,” Harish informed.
“Garnering huge support from the common students on the demands of the present movement — immediate scrapping of interview criteria for admission in St Stephen’s College, provision of Deprivation Points to government school students and commencement of evening shift in all DU colleges — KYS has launched a mass signature campaign on these demands. KYS has also decided to conduct a referendum on these issues among the DU students as well as aspirants, in the coming days,” a section of the press release states.
“The main agenda of the protest is to build pressure on the college. It is not only for scrapping its admission policy. Even if the college discards its interview criteria, we will continue to build the pressure to address the larger crisis of education at hand. We want the seats in the university to be increased. And for that we want new colleges to be set up under DU and evening classes to be started in the colleges to allow more students to avail them,” Harish said.
Inclusion, not exclusion
“Now the seats are limited and all those who aspire to study at DU are not able to because of this. And those who are taking admission here mostly come from a particular section of the society — the elite. We want more government school students in the university because, after all, it is a government-funded institution. So, there should be inclusion and not exclusion. And to enable more government school students, we want the college to provide 20% deprivation points to them,” the student activist added.
KYS had organised a protest rally regarding the issue on June 6, Monday. Some members had even held a discussion with the Delhi University administration. “The interview lasted for about 20 minutes. The university has said that it will take the issue up. They said that this is what the university also wants and that our demand is genuine. The admission policy should be scrapped off because it cannot be that there is one rule for admission for the rest of the university and a separate rule for the college. So, they conceded to this,” said Bhim Kumar, Member, Delhi State Committee, KYS.