On June 6, students and teachers of Jadavpur University (JU) held a 30-hour sit-in protest, against the university’s decision to scrap admission tests for undergraduate courses for six humanities subjects. A section of students’ gheraoed Vice-Chancellor (VC) Suranjan Das’s office till late in the night. After which the VC offers to resign.
The protest started on July 4, a day after the university’s decision to scrap and the test. According to the NDTV, the protests will go on until the university changes its decision.
“We allowed the Vice-Chancellor and other Executive Council members to leave at around 11.45 pm yesterday, but our sit-in before Aurobindo Bhavan, the main administrative building, will continue till the Executive Council withdraws its decision to scrap the entrance tests,” Arts Faculty Student Union (AFSU) chairperson Somashree Choudhury.
The Backdrop of the protest
On Wednesday, the Executive Council had announced that instead of conducting entrance examinations in English, Comparative Literature, Bengali, History, Political Science and Philosophy, students would be admitted on the basis of their Class 12 board exam results.
The student union has demanded the reinstatement of the admission test and a decision to be announced as soon as possible. “We had told the VC that we can take any drastic step, if the authorities did not re-introduce the admission tests, and announce a decision at the earliest,” The Spokesperson added.
The university faculty is also supporting the protest and the demands made by the students.
“We have the moral support of the Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association (JUTA) members and the non-teaching staff on the issue,” added Somashree.
VC’s take on the issue
According to the media reports, on June 6, the VC said that he was unable to understand the reason behind the students’ protest. He also claimed that the majority of executive council member took the decision.
“The decision to scrap the entrance test was taken by the majority of the executive council members. I, as the VC, will have to abide by the decision,” said Suranjan.
“Little time left to conduct the entrance”
According to Mr Chiranjib Bhattacharya, Jadavpur University Registrar, there was a “displeasure” among a section of teachers over the Executive Council’s decision to involve external experts in the admission procedure. So they had very little time to conduct the entrance exam.
“There was little possibility of conducting entrance tests after addressing the concerns of our teachers, given the little time we have in hand. In view of the uncertainties faced by thousands of candidates, we decided to go by the marks criterion for this year,” said Pro-VC Pradip Ghosh.
VC offers to resign
VC Suranjan Das had a meeting with West Bengal Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi and offered to resign in the wake of the ongoing protests. The Governor asked him to take any hasty decision, as reported by Hindustan Times.
“The governor sought a detailed report from the vice-chancellor on the sequence of events and wanted to know why the agitation by students and protest by teachers, took such a turn,” said an official as per Hindustan Times.
He said the Governor wanted to know why the decision to conduct entrance tests was withdrawn after making an official announcement following which admit cards were issued to around 17,000 applicants.
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Also published on Medium.