New Delhi: On October 31, the students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Hyderabad, found out through a newspaper advertisement that the campus is being made non-residential, and that the BA Social Sciences course has been deferred. This came as a shock to the students, as there had been no official announcement of the same from the university administration.
The anguished students repeatedly appealed to the administration to arrange a meeting with the student council representatives, but no heed was reportedly paid to their requests. It was only after the students reportedly threatened to desist from paying fees that the management agreed to arrange a meeting. On November 22, representatives from the student council met Director Shalini Bharat at the Mumbai campus of TISS. However, Bharat has reportedly communicated to the representatives that neither of the decisions would be reverted.
When the college reopened on December 3, after the semester break, the students enrolled in the BA Social Sciences course, which is the only undergraduate course in TISS, Hyderabad, decided to come together and form a BA Students’ Collective, and have called for a protest starting from December 10.
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From December 10, the students have gone on a strike, and are boycotting the classes. Talking to Newsclick, Bibin Thomas, a third-year student of the BA Social Sciences course, said, “The college has been completely shut down. The students are protesting outside the building, and the faculty is also forced to stay outside. We will not let the classes be resumed before our demands are met.” He also said that since the protest, which has entered its fourth day now, has started, no one from the administration has made any effort to initiate a conversation with the students.
Talking about how this move is going to affect the students, Thomas said, “The move to make this campus is going to greatly affect the students who come here from deeply marginalised backgrounds. Most of them come here on scholarships that are processed by the college, and these scholarships can be used only if they are staying in the college hostels. If the hostels are closed, they would be forced to find accommodations, and they would have to pay the rents out of their own pockets.”
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The students from the MA courses have also extended their support. The students have said that they will continue to boycott the classes, and protest until their demands are heard and met by the administration.