Extending their support to students agitating over the massive hike in hostel and other charges, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association on Saturday, November 2, launched a scathing attack on the administration and said that it is the misgovernance of the JNU Administration under the current Vice Chancellor M Jagadeesh Kumar that should be squarely blamed for the situation. The employees and the students of the university have been locking horns with the administration over pending payments and the hike in hostel and mess fee, curfew timings and non-compliance of reservation norms in allocation of hostel rooms.
As per the information put out by the administration, the service charges have been increased from Rs 0 to Rs 1,700 a month. Similarly, room rent for single room has been increased from Rs 20 per month to Rs 600 per month and the charges of double-sharing room has been increased from Rs 10 per month to Rs 300 per month. The mess security amount, which is refundable, has been increased from Rs 5,500 to Rs 12,000.
In a statement, the teachers' body said that the latest series of protests are rooted in authoritarianism opted by the administration. It added, "Instead of engaging in a dialogue with the representatives of students or karamcharis, the JNU administration has illegally and arbitrarily dispensed with even the students’ representation in the IHA (Inter Hall Administration) meeting that is guaranteed by statutory provisions. The JNUTA notes that these recent moves of the Administration reflect a process of attempted restructuring of the University wherein the institution increasingly abandons its responsibilities to its employees as well as to its students and undermines the egalitarian ethos which has been a hallmark of JNU."
Also read: JNU: In Closed-door IHA Meeting, Admin Introduces Massive Hike in Hostel Fees
Expressing concern, the newly elected association said that the trajectory of recent moves may force students to opt out of studies as "the University’s own data shows, more than 40% of students admitted to JNU are from families with incomes less than Rs. 12,000 per month...Steps like these are the logical culmination of the moves towards ‘graded autonomy’, HEFA (Higher Education Financing Agency) borrowing and signing of a tri-partite MoU (between the University, UGC and MHRD) – all of which shared an emphasis on reducing public funding of Universities and increasing the burden of fees or user-charges."
Meanwhile, the office bearers of the students’ union were issued showcause notice for allegedly breaking the gates of Parthasarathy Rocks on October 29 and have been asked to be present before a proctorial investigation committee on November 11. The tussle was further aggravated when the administration tried to lock the JNUSU office citing a delay in notification of election results this year.