The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) issued a show-cause notice to 30 students who protested the administration’s decision to hike the hostel fee on July 5.
The Bahujan Collective – a student organisation at TISS – condemned the act saying that not a single scholarship holder has received a written proposal from the administration regarding the assurances they made to the students, the New Indian Express reported.
According to the Times of India, the acting registrar M.P. Balamurugan issued the notice claiming that the administration attempted to make peace with the students but they resorted to sloganeering and protests restricting the entry of faculty, staff members and other students inside the campus’ academic building.
The notice states that students were found to be “blocking the entrance of [the] academic block from July 9 to July 15, 2019 with an intention to deter/obstruct faculty/ administrative staff from discharging their official duty, causing disruption, loss of critical working days, loss of teaching hours and financial loss besides impeding the working of the institute.”
However, on August 26, the Telangana high court expressed its discontent over the administration’s decision of issuing a show-cause notice to the students. Justice A. Rajasekhara Reddy asked the TISS administration to file its counter and abstain from taking any such measures against the protesters.
Protest against hostel fee hike
Protests against the abrupt fee hike started on July 6.
According to the college’s student action committee, hostellers now had to pay Rs 54,650. Previously, they had to pay Rs 15,000 in three instalments (excluding mess charges). Students who were awarded with the Government of India post-metric scholarship (GOI-PMS) would pay the instalments after they received the amount.
However, the administration didn’t consent to the demands, as a result of which a group of students went a five-day hunger strike till July 11. The protesters did not allow the entry of faculty and officers into the academic block.
On July 15, the college’s registrar announced sine die closure all academic activities on campus, alleging misbehaviour at the hands of the students.
Academic activities resumed from July 25 after a meeting between the registrar, the dean and the student’s action committee.
However, the issue of accommodation and fee hike remains unresolved.
According to the New Indian Express, while many GOI-PMS students struggled to find accommodation, the method undertaken by the administration to provide accommodation to selective students was also questionable.
The administration allotted accommodation to students who attended the meeting after the protests. Many students were not present on the campus and some were not informed about the meeting.
Furthermore, besides issuing show-cause notices to over 30 students, the administration, students say, also sent a copy of the notice to their parents.
Students of the School of Gender Studies, the Progressive Students’ Forum, issued a statement condemning the act, the New Indian Express reported. The college’s student union also expressed regret over the administration’s insensitivity towards students including women.
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