The JNUTA notes with great anger the intransigence of the JNU administration in rolling back the disastrous and unreasonable slash in admissions o the M.Phil./M.Tech./PhD and Direct PhD programmes of the University. Despite efforts by the genuine academic bodies of the University — Centres/Special Centres/Schools — to ascertain the basis by which admissions have been reduced to ZERO for 63 research programmes of the university, the JNU administration has not issued even one written explanation as to what methodology it followed in arriving at this decision. The JNUTA demands that the university issue such an explanation immediately in an Academic Council meeting, which has already been requisitioned by 30 members of the Academic Council. It also resolves to do a mass contact programme to gather the signatures of as many AC members as possible to ensure an AC meeting at the earliest, which it many be noted has yet to meet even ones in the semester, in violation of the Statutes.
The JNUTA GBM expresses it anguish at the dereliction of responsibility by the University administration towards the students of this University. Fellowships to students have not been released for months on end even though the university has the funds to disburse this money to students until the dedicated grants from the university arrive. Students have not been able to pay mess bills, are being denied mess food as a consequence wardens are harried and ill-treated, and anyone who attends a public meeting in a hostel mess is required to provide personal details to the authorities. Now, on top of all this, the installation of CCTV cameras in the hostels seeks to create an atmosphere in which no student is expected to have the right of privacy.
This systematic and sustained attack on students’ lives and autonomy, coming on the heels of a string of FIRs and court cases filed by the university administration against students, the linking of student reimbursement through the mandatory provision of Aadhar cards, is setting the stage for a wide-ranging intimidation. This not only pertains to the liberty to dissent, but also the right to privacy and the right to intellectual autonomy, as it arrogates to the university administration the right to police every aspect of a student’s existence. The logic of surveillance is one that everyone is potentially guilty, and that innocence can be proved only by not resisting it; when the actual fact is that surveillance catches wrong-doing only through a denial of the principles of natural justice– it determines its target for surveillance and then retro-fits a wrongdoing in order to justify the targeting in the first place. In a democratic and civilised society however — and certainly in a university — there can be no presumption that a person is likely to commit some breach before she has done so. Moreover, misdemeanours cannot be invented after the fact.
The JNUTA extends its support to JNU’s suffering students, as their feelings of anxiety, depression, and anger are ones that teachers feel as well. It urges students in need to approach their teachers (as they already doing) for emotional and material support, and assures them of their unflinching support in resisting this onslaught on their rights.
The General Body Meeting of the JNUTA resolves on the following plan of action for coming days:
- The JNUTA shall undertake a mass mobilisation campaign to approach every teacher to participate in all its events and will continue to seek out AC members asking for signatures to requisition an AC meeting.
- The JNUTA will organize a public meeting on 13 April 2017 in which chairperson/ faculty member will share the impact of seat-cut in their respective schools/ centres. The volunteers will meet after the meeting and make some playcards/posters.
- In order to ‘welcome’ the HRD Minister on 14 April, the JNUTA will organize a demonstration at the Library at 10.00 a.m..
- The JNUTA will begin an indefinite series of daily sit-ins from Monday 17 April, 4.30 pm onwards, at the Nehru statue to highlight the many failures of the JNU administration towards teachers, students, wardens, and staff. It shall put together a detailed list of violations committed by the administration.
- Sustained efforts shall be made to redemocratise all spaces of debate and discussion in the university campus, not only Freedom Square by holding public meetings/ open houses in hostel messes, starting from this weekend.
- The JNUTA shall look into organising a public event outside the campus inDelhi in the course of next week to educate the public on the crises affecting JNU, located within the larger political context.