Ongoing Movement in Jadavpur University

Jul 9, 2018

You may have already heard of the ongoing movement in Jadavpur University. This is an appeal to all those diverse spheres of society whose active engagement, in our opinion, will nourish the churning of much needed new ideas and energy in the backdrop of the grave situation which is haunting educational institutions all across the country. It is also our opinion that the news of the movement that has reached you through the media is insufficient and does not entirely represent the aspirations of the freedom-seeking minds that populate the movement. This is why we feel the urge to reach out to you directly.

Over the last few years, we have observed how higher education in India is facing relentless attacks on multiple layers from multiple sides. On the one hand, we have increasing centralization of administrative control and on the other hand, repeated attempts by the ruling parties to impose their narrow self-serving interests on the colleges and universities across the country. These include the scrapping of fellowships, the present restructuring of the UGC, the abolition of elected students' unions, an intensive drive towards privatization and dependence on corporate funding and so on and so forth. It is in this complex and murky territory that we find ourselves and one movement, we think, is actually a desperate attempt to overcome the overwhelming adversities that plague the lives of students, teachers and research scholars at large.

For your convenience, a list of dates is presented that outlines the events leading to this moment:

June 9, 2018: Admission notification published, laying down details of the admission process. The last date of application is given as 22 June, later extended to 26 June 2018.

June 13: Media reports rumours about possible state intervention. The first meeting of the Admissions Committee is held to discuss the BA Admissions 2018.

June 14: Executive Council meeting takes place where students demand clarification about these rumours. The EC does not respond, saying that the admissions were not discussed.

June 25: Students were told that some members of the EC had pointed out legal complications in the existing admission procedure of Jadavpur University. In light of those allegations raised, our respected Vice Chancellor has informed us that they had called for the advice of the Advocate General regarding these legal complexities. The final decision regarding the admission procedure will be announced after they receive the notice and date of form fill up has been extended till 2nd July.

June 27: After 44 hours, of demonstration, the EC says that it has received a legal opinion and that the examination will take place with 50-50 weightage on board examination results and entrance test performance.

June 28: The Admission Committee holds a meeting which discusses the possible intervention of an external body of experts to conduct the examination in an MCQ format. This is not revealed to the students immediately. New dates for conducting the examinations are announced.

July 1: Students approached the Chair Person of the Admission Committee (Dean of Arts Faculty) to verify the truth of these statements. The Dean had told that there had been no discussion on these topics on 28th June 2018. The minutes that were decided on 28th June 2018 was not published till 2nd July. We were disappointed to know that the wrong information about the entrance examination like MCQ etc was let out to the media especially newspapers even before the publication of minutes.

July 3: The Admissions Committee meets to discuss the role of external experts and MCQ format for the test. The committee could not come to a consensus whether the participation of external professors in the admission procedure would be included or not. The admission committee could not come to a conclusion and therefore the decision was sent to be made by the higher decision making EC.

July 4: The EC decided that no entrance exams would be held this year for any department. We got to know about the Government Notification calling of Admission Tests. Our authority informed that this decision is not influenced by any Government notifications. Again, there was a change in the admission notification on the website stating that the date of form fill up has been extended till 12th July. Moreover, there was a meeting of the Admission Committee again on 5th July stating that all the admission procedures would be concluded between 27th to 31st July.

Meanwhile, the applicants faced severe harassment due to constant changes in the admission notifications. This year more than 18000 students had applied for various Arts departments. We have seen students who have come here from different parts of the country, going as far as Rajasthan, face trouble caused due to the indecision. Many applicants have submitted their petitions to the university authority out of uncertainty.

In light of the above developments, we were compelled to sit on an indefinite hunger strike demanding the reinstatement and immediate execution of the admission process along with admission tests in accordance with the resolution taken by the Executive Council in the meeting dated 27.06.2018. It is our earnest appeal to you to come forth with your valuable opinions and insight to further strengthen the possibilities of the movement that is gradually taking shape.

P.S.: Among the many shades of opinions existing simultaneously within the movement, the above reflections are shared by a large number of the participating students which we desired to communicate to you. We look forward to your response.


Debraj Koley
Gourab Masanta
Reeaz Hasan Molla
Subhadeep Maity
Shounak Baidya

Jul 07, 2018