The disagreements that students and teachers have had with JNU administration passing several new implementations have not been a secret. There have been numerous protests and strikes by the teachers and students to raise their voices against what they think is unfair. In another incident of resistance, the JNU teacher’s association went on a one day strike on July 31, 2018, against the notification issued by the JNU admin that made attendance mandatory for teachers.
A circular was released on December 22, 2017, that made compulsory for students of Masters, MPhil, and PhD courses and it said that a record of 75% attendance needs to be maintained. The teachers and students boycotted the circular, and they had to face many problems because of the rules in the last semester.
The decision of the strike was taken in a General Body Meeting on July 24. A two question referendum will also be held on August 7. The referendum will be against the present Vice-Chancellor, Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar, rejecting the Higher Education Funding Loan taken by the University for an Engineering School and the expansion.
The JNUTA thinks of these developments as leading to the “path of destruction” for the university. Time and again, all the rules that are being implemented have been called ‘illegal’ by the JNUTA. “The GBM rejected the misguided efforts of the current V-C and his administration to convert this university, built with objectives of a socially, economically and a gender-just university, into an authoritarian teaching shop”, said the JNUTA in a statement after the meeting on July 24. The JNUTA denies the statement by the administration that the decision of biometric attendance was taken in a meeting but, according to the JNUTA, it was never addressed.
The strike has been regarded as a triumph and majority of students also participated in it. A march was also carried out in the JNU campus as a part of the protest. Teachers wore black badges and carried placards to show opposition to the new regulation. The people who took part in the march said that the reason for the same is, “overbearing administration under the leadership of the current vice chancellor for over the last two years”. The protest was also conducted against many changes and regulations and the loan proposed by the University of over ₹ 500 crore.
Students also took to social media. “Universities have become a battleground under the current regime. What made us proud internationally are now struggling to maintain their relevance at home,” tweeted Shihab Khan.
“Being the head of the varsity you have some responsibilities towards college. Don’t you think you should discharge them? Or will discharging responsibilities towards @rss help me?” asked Karan Bhandari also tagging the Vice Chancellor.
“Be it the JNUTA or the students, the tradition prevalent in JNU needs to be changed. The names JN or IG should be replaced by Indian National University & National Open University”, said Yahswant Rao.
While students are asking difficult questions, the V-C hasn’t issued a response yet.