On 22 December 2016, JNU Students Union released a list of five demands for the Academic Council (AC) meeting that was conducted yesterday, on 23 December. The demands included reduction of viva-voce points, no hike in the fees, exclusion of courses on AYUSH and Disaster Management, and minority deprivation points. The parcha on demands also called for a resistance against “all attempts by the JNU Administration to turn the University into a jail.” It was only a week back when grill gates and flower pots were installed at Ad-block, and students have perceived this as an attack on the spaces for protest and dissent.
The AC meeting started at 2:30 PM at Convention Centre, and saw teachers from across centres and schools participating. Academic Council is the highest decision-making body regarding academic changes. JNUSU and activists from various political groups had gathered as early as 1 o’clock to voice out their concerns on a wide variety of issues. Left political groups have demanded a reduction of viva voce points from 30 to 15; it was last year when SFI had released posters that systematically pointed out the discrimination faced by lower caste students in allotment of marks in interviews. Ambedkarite groups like BAPSA and United-OBC Forum have gone a step further and demanded that points be reduced to 10. Abdul Nafey Committee that was convened by the administration to look into the matter of viva voce points had a week ago released its report recommending a reduction of viva points to 15.
The meeting, chaired by Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar Mamidala, mainly discussed the issues of fee hike and viva voce points. The meeting lasted till 11 PM, a record of more than eight hours, but could not decide on a uniform rule for viva points: 27 teachers agreed on 20 marks and 22 wanted the status quo of 30. The Vice Chancellor then declared that the decision of viva marks shall be left to the discretion of individual centres, and as to how they want to go about it. This makes the fight especially difficult for the Student Union and political groups which have been demanding the reduction. The meeting also decided to increase the fees for admission and prospectus, though it was decided that this is not applicable to ST and SC students.
The Union said that a series of protests in the University and at UGC shall be carried out to “strengthen the movement against the Brahminical control of academic spaces.”
The Informer Report.