Protests quelled at Bengaluru University
Unlike any other student protests that involve chanting of slogans or gheraoing of officials, students studying at the Bannerghatta Road campus of Christ University, Bengaluru orchestrated a silent protest on Friday, July 29, at the quadrangle inside the campus so that the officials at the varsity agree to lend an ear to their concern. What initially started as a social media campaign by the students, took the shape of silent protest as an expression of their discomfiture on the stringent rules imposed by the authority. However, the administration barely gave the students their response and the security guards intervened to disperse their protest.
Students protested with legitimate demands
Attendance : While the UGC approves any student to write exams if he/she has a minimum of 75% attendance, Christ University has set their minimum attendance to 85%. Even, the rest of 15% attendance is not flexible and students have to face heavy interrogation from the authority on the reasons for being absent for a single class. Failing to abide by the attendance norms, students have to pay fines up to Rs 5,000. Since the opening of the new campus in June, the students pursuing Social Science are also made to follow dress codes like those who are pursuing management studies.
Performance : While the UGC mandates grades of students to depend on 60% of their performance in internal assessments and 40% on the end-of-term exams, Christ University shifted the regulation to 70% for internal and 30% for exams. The university conducts some stringent internals to evaluate the students.
To absolutely curb any possible chances of disagreements, students are not allowed to convene meetings inside the campus or forward their complaints collectively. Many students who stay far away are also compelled to attend classes on the days of strikes. Frustration among the students brewed to a different level that took the shape of a protest and it got further augmented after one of a faculty members resigned.
Resignation of faculty member following the protest
One of the faculty members of the Economics department, an ex-Christite, was forced to resign from his post after he wrote several letters to the management speaking about the concerns of the students. He was stopped by the security guards to enter the campus. His cabin was found locked when he went to collect his books. Also, he was threatened to be dragged out of college when he went to bid farewell to his students. The administration of the college has denied the students their grounds of protests and now, the students fear steep action might be taken against them for organizing the protest.
Students have to abide by several norms and regulations in their school life and after they join colleges and universities, they need to have some space and a greater scope for free thinking. While there is still a necessity to impose some disciplinary laws, but it should be restricted to those, without which, the consequences can be harmful to the students.
College students are expected to be responsible for their studies and attendance. Setting a minimum attendance is required, but there should also be flexibility. If a student is absent in his/her permissible limits then he/she cannot be interrogated every time. And also, attendance should be given to students for the rest of the classes if they fail to attend a particular class.
The evaluation of students based on UGC guidelines is a standard set by all other universities. Going beyond the norms cannot be considered as a sane decision. This simply mounts additional pressure on the students.
Lastly, a dress code for management students is understandable, but social science students cannot be bound to follow unnecessary laws as they require their free space and a wider spectrum of thinking.
The Logical Indian appeals to the administration of Christ University to bring some flexibility in the laws they have imposed on the students of Bannerghatta Road campus. This is not only the case of this university, but many private universities impose their self-made rules without thinking much about the students. College students must be encouraged for creative and liberal thinking, they cannot perform in a cage, they need a vast space to think freely, debate and shape their personalities. We urge our community members to share this post so that it can reach to the administration of all other private universities.