Members of the BITS Pilani student and alumni community gathered in major cities in the country on July 1 to protest against the 15% fee hike announced by the BITS administration in May 2018.
On the day of the protests, a delegation of around 20 students had gone to the office of Chancellor, Kumar Mangalam Birla, and had submitted their letters of intent to the Chief Security Officer, seeking his intervention and requesting an appointment for an audience.
Whilst awaiting a response from his end, they got a confirmation that the letters had been passed on to the Chancellor’s assistant. In pursuance of the same, a few student representatives received a mail on July 4, three days after the protest. In the mail, Kumar Mangalam Birla has agreed to meet a body of student representatives to discuss the matter of concern.
These protests had started as a result of a colossal 15% fee hike at BITS Pilani that pushed the per semester fee to ₹ 1,59,000. While the students peacefully protested in the campus demanding the rollback of the fee hike, there was no response from the administration on the same.
After students continued the protests, despite their ongoing examinations, the authorities agreed to lend an ear to the concerns of the students and provide solutions for the same. The students halted their protests after receiving assurance from the administration that the fee hike would be put on hold until an amicable solution was found. The students formed a human chain in the shape of the iconic clock tower of the BITS campus.
But, instead of their problems being redressed, the students received show cause notices warning them of disciplinary repercussions and their parents received emails asking them to ask their children to refrain from disciplinary breaches. In yet another email, reiterating the private nature of the institute they called the demand of “no fee-hike” as being out of the question.
As a result, the students and alumni of BITS Pilani staged nationwide protests on July 1 in the cities of Chennai, Bengaluru, Aurangabad, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Indore, Bhopal, Rourkela and Mumbai.
The students are hopeful after having received the mail conceding to their request for an audience with Mr Birla.
“This is the first positive response we have seen in a long time, after all our protests. Mr KM Birla Sir is one of the country’s biggest industrialists and has agreed to meet our student representatives, despite his dearth of time. This mail has renewed hope and aspiration in the heart of all the BITSians. It is heartwarming to see Mr Birla live up to his responsibilities as a Chancellor despite his busy schedule and every student who sat through the protests even during his exams is grateful to him. We are hopeful of a positive outcome of the protest”, says a student representative who also received the mail.
The meeting will be held on July 7, 2018, at Centauri Bhavan (Worli, Mumbai) between 11 am to 12 pm.