JNU: Students claim reservation policy flouted in hostel allotment again, plan protests on November 24

Students submitted a memorandum yesterday, November 21, to immediately implement reservation policies in hostel allotment and more
File photo of JNU | (Pic: Express)
File photo of JNU | (Pic: Express)

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) submitted a memorandum to the Dean of Students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), demanding immediate implementation of reservation policies for hostel allotment to the new undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG) batches. The students claim that the reservation guidelines for the allotment have been flouted once again. Previously, in July this year, the students had alleged such discrepancies in the allotment process. “The same issue keeps repeating itself and we have to write to the administration to address it or stage demonstrations,” says Sagnik Sarkar, a second-year student of the institution. The students informed us that they will be staging a protest against this issue on November 24. 

What happened?
The UG classes of the 2022 batch began yesterday, November 21 and the PG classes are due to begin on November 28; however, the students claim that the JNU administration is yet to provide the students with hostel facilities or an allotment list. A statement released by the JNUSU states, “As the document verification for admissions to different programmes has been ongoing in JNU, the JNU administration has once again failed to provide accommodation on a timely basis to the students.” According to the hostel manual of the institute, SC/ST and PwD students should be given priority when choosing a hostel, nevertheless, only PwD students in the P1 and P2 categories have received a hostel allotment so far.

Previous violation of reservation policy
During the previous admission cycle also there were claims of violation of the reservation regulations. The reserved category students who enrolled in the unreserved category were not given a preference for hostel allotment in the unreserved category. A press release put out by JNUSU cites examples to say, “...in the first hostel list released for UG 'Boys students' of the 2021 Batch, out of the 50 seats allotted, 13 seats have been allotted to EWS Category students, which is more than double the 10% reservation allocated for EWS Category. Subsequently, the seats under the Unreserved Category were reduced to mere 11 seats….This in effect led to a situation where students from SC/ST/OBC had to wait for a long time for hostel allotment.”

Demand for more hostel buildings and gender-neutral hostels
The students are also demanding that the university start building more hostels in light of the addition of new courses and the increase in enrollment. “The current situation has become so worse that the University do not even have the capacity to accommodate two Master’s batches simultaneously,” states the JNUSU release. They further demand that the university take the necessary steps to construct gender-neutral hostels to ensure a learning environment that is safe and healthy, especially for those from the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Letter to Dean of Students 
The memorandum written to the Dean of Students by JNUSU on November 21 states that quite a few students are dropping out or cancelling admission owing to the delay in the allotment. The letter also outlines the demands of the students, which comprise the following: a separate wing for the LGBTQI+ community, infrastructure to ensure an inclusive space, priority for the SC/ST as per the "constitutionally mandated reservation", open seats of the hostel to be made available for the SC/ST/OBC category, the release of available hostel rooms at Inter-Hall Administration (IHA) website, and more. Some of the additional requests include:
- Allocation of hostels to the P3 PwD category
- Improving the hostels' accessibility for people with disabilities
- Bringing the cost of the MBA-specific hostels into line with other hostels' costs

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