On 1st September 2017, a referendum titled “Should Aryabhatta College be affiliated to Delhi University Student’s Union (DUSU)?” was held. The students of Aryabhatta College voted for the motion. Out of the 733 votes that were polled, 583 were for the motion, 140 against the motion, and 10 votes were regarded as invalid. The DUSU Constitution requires an absolute majority of the total number of students to support the motion for affiliation. As per clause 6(ii) of the DUSU Constitution, “Students of a College/Institution may become members of the Union by a resolution passed by absolute majority of the total number of students on rolls of the College/Institution concerned on the last working day of July of that year”. So even if most of the students voted in favour of being affiliated with DUSU, since a majority of the collective student body did not turn up for the polling, the resolution failed.
A strong reason for the less-than-ideal turnout could be because the 31st of August was a holiday in most colleges due to the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) elections. The vote was scheduled on the 1st of September, with 2nd September being a Saturday and the 3rd being a Sunday. If students skipped college on 1st, they would end up having a four-day weekend. Some students believe that the college authorities had intentionally scheduled the voting on a date that would result in a low turnout. Yashank Bhutani, a third-year B.Com student from Aryabhatta College, said, “I think that this was a perfect plan made by our college authorities to get rid of DUSU from our college. As per the referendum schedule, 31st was the DUTA elections, 1st was the day of referendum, and the following days were Saturday and Sunday. College authorities knew well that students won’t turn up on this day due to which we got the following results. The main incentive behind not allowing DUSU in our college is that the authorities will form a dictatorship where teachers would rule like in a school.”
Being associated with DUSU for a lot of colleges means being involved with student politics and activism at a greater level. While DUSU does not come without its own baggage, it is undeniable that it plays a highly relevant role in shaping college life for a lot of institutions. DUSU affiliation means access to a platform to air one’s grievances, access to better fests and cultural events, and a the prospect of engaging on a wide platform of student politics.
In response to the failed referendum, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), which is currently in power in DUSU, alleged that the referendum was illegal on the grounds that voting in DUSU elections had been happening in the college when it was Ram Lal Anand Evening College until a few years ago.
Feature Image Credits: Edunuts