Dilapidated condition of hostels in the JNU and inadequate number of classrooms to ensure social distancing were among the issues highlighted by the JNUSU to newly-appointed vice-chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit on Friday. Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union president Aishe Ghosh and Joint Secretary Md Danish called on Pandit and had a "detailed discussion" regarding a wide range of issues, the body said in a statement.
The JNUSU also submitted a "detailed memorandum" on the concerns of the student community. "The president and the joint secretary of the JNUSU met the VC with a detailed memorandum highlighting the issues of offline classes, GSCASH, infrastructure issue across campus, health centre, deprivation points, Equal Opportunity Cell, CUET, NEP and other concerns of the student community," the statement issued by the body said.
The meeting comes days after Pandit was appointed as the first woman vice-chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University. In the 15-point memorandum, the JNUSU pointed out that "no proper arrangement" has been made regarding the resumption of offline classes, despite the issuance of a circular in this regard. They also highlighted that "there is also a huge infrastructural crisis" in the university as there arent enough classrooms to accommodate students following physical distancing norms during the current pandemic times.
"Although, the university, has released a circular stating that offline classes can be resumed but in the university, there have been no proper arrangements made in this regard. "The BA students of the 2020 batch and all students of the 2021 batch have yet not been called to the university and allotted the hostel," read the memorandum.
It also said, "Most of the hostels on the campus are in a very dilapidated state. With constant leaks, falling ceilings, to mention a few. The university should start an overall overhauling and maintenance drive of all the hostels as well as school." Asserting that the JNU has been facing a large number of issues for the past few years, the JNUSU noted that COVID-19, the subsequent lockdown and the online mode of education had "come as a further blow on the academics of students".
The students outfit also raised the matter of "huge delay" in the disbursal of fellowship and scholarships, and noted that the situation was further aggravated during the pandemic when many families had also lost their income as well. Alleging that the ''Gender Sensitization Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) was arbitrarily replaced'' with the ICC in 2017, the JNUSU claimed that the campus has seen an alarming increase in cases of sexual harassment and stalking with perpetrators having complete impunity.
The students union members also elucidated that the students and teachers of the university have been in the past few years "penalised and criminalized for voicing their dissenting opinions". The student union expressed hope that the vice-chancellor would look into the issues with "utmost urgency" and would take steps to ensure the proper functioning of the university.
The JNUSU said the vice-chancellor assured that the memorandum handed over will be responded back through her office with detailed understanding within a month after looking at the status of each issue. "We were notified that the VC, in full capacity, is willing to solve the concerns of the student community in dialogue with the students and also seeks to take suggestions of any sort from the student community," the JNUSU said. The JNUSU was locked in a tussle with Pandit's predecessor M Jagadesh Kumar on a several of issues ranging from fee hike to the students union not being invited to the Academic Council meetings. Kumar was appointed the UGC chairman last week.
With PTI Inputs