Protests regarding the governing body took place in Daulat Ram College on 6 and 8 August 2016. Both students and teachers came together to question the governing style of the chairperson, Ms Suneeta Sudarshan. The protest revolved around key infrastructure problems that the college faces, as well as the chairperson’s reluctance to handle these issues.
The protest concentrated primarily on the issues of infrastructure such as unhygienic washrooms, inadequate space in classrooms, and the unstable condition of the college building itself. A teacher from the political science department also highlighted the fact that ID cards are yet to be issued to first-years due to the lack of administration and section officers. Furthermore, no permanent appointments – of either the teaching or non-teaching staff – have taken place in several years. Posters of ‘We Want Dignity’ and ‘Save Daulat Ram College’ were spotted. Students also exclaimed slogans such as, “Chairperson hosh mein aayo” and, “ek do teen char, band karo yeh atyachaar.” Priyanka, a student of Philosophy Honours, claimed that “we have contracts and funds,” but that the chairperson was hindering access to them and thereby the renovation process of the college. The administration staff refused to comment.
After hours of protesting in the front lawn directly opposite the admin block, the gathering was addressed by the Principal, Ms. Savita Roy, who explained the conflict with the governing body. She claimed that the condition of the college was “pathetic” and that despite carrying out proper procedure and taking permission for its renovation, the process was taking much longer than necessary due to lack of cooperation of the chairperson. She claimed that the governing body had frozen the hostel accounts and had filed an FIR against the Principal for breaking a lock that was put up by the matron in the hostel. With regard to the students’ demands for lowering of the tuition fee (the fee has more than doubled in a span of two years), the Principal said that she invites a delegation to formally present the issue so that it can be resolved. The chairperson has denied the allegations against her.
After the demonstrations in college, several students and teachers marched to the Vice Chancellor’s office in an effort to make their demands heard. It was reported that the Teachers’ Union of the college had an altercation with Satender Awana, the DU Students’ Union (DUSU) President, who verbally and physically assaulted staff members from the college. The DU Teachers’ Association (DUTA) issued a press release which detailed the events of the day and declared its solidarity with the staff of the college. Students of the college have also been posting messages on social media which detail the shortcomings in the college’s infrastructure and management, particularly with regard to the hostel, where the warden is seen as being autocratic and unreasonable. The outcome of these protests is yet to be seen.
Featured image credits: Asmita