While the future of Delhi School of Journalism hangs in uncertainty, the administration asks students to “have faith.” With #FraudDSJ trending on Twitter and other social media platforms, DU Beat presents a situation explainer.
“I want the Delhi School of Journalism (DSJ) to become an even better centre than the famous Columbia School of Journalism,” said Prof. Yogesh Tyagi, the Vice Chancellor (VC) of the University of Delhi, during the orientation programme of Delhi School of Journalism last year. Fast forward one year and it seems that the VC’s dream project has turned into a nightmare. Expensive Course, Infrastructure Woes The students of DSJ have shown displeasure over lack of facilities. The new entrants pursuing one of the varsity’s most expensive courses have continuously complained about poor infrastructure.
One of the core issues raised by the students is the lack of a library facility. Instead, they have a “reading room” which has the capacity to accomodate only ten students to sit and read at a time. Students have proposed that since there is no proper library in the campus of DSJ, they should be given access to the Central Library, but to no avail.
Another issue raised is regarding the sports facilities, citing that they are not allowed to use the sports ground despite the campus being in the University Stadium Complex. With a high annual fee of 70,000 INR, this self financing journalism course is without a media lab. DSJ Needs Fresh Air, Literally.
DSJ is housed in the University Stadium Complex which is centrally air-conditioned. However, the air conditioning system has failed miserably. As a remedy, the administration installed pedestal fans which have been ineffective. There is no ventilation and the fans create a lot of noise which further prevents the possibility of any constructive academic discourse. On 30th July 2018, the students staged a sit-in protest to demand “fast-track action” by the varsity. “The air-conditioning system stopped working 20 days ago. The engineering department of the University repaired it, but it stopped working again. We are doing our best. Please have faith,” Dr. M.M. Yogi said, while looking visibly tired. The classes for the third-semester students were subsequently suspended from 31st July to 5th August owing to the ovenlike the condition of classes.
Rohit Shukla, a student of DSJ, expressed his displeasure by stating, “DSJ is just like an election manifesto of any political party which looks and sounds extremely great from outside but it just remains only on paper.” It’s a ‘subject’ Matter DSJ follows the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) which means that apart from the compulsory core courses, students have the freedom to choose their elective course from a pool of options. However, students were denied options in choosing General Electives in the first and second semester. They were forced to study other subjects without explanation or justification. The students believe that this may be due to an acute shortage of funds or space to conduct classes at the same time. The same happened with Ability Enhancement Compulsory Course (AECC) and the language course they are supposed to study according to CBCS.
A few students were forced to take Hindi as AECC despite lacking the basic knowledge of the language. The programme offers four options for both foreign and regional languages. Some students have resented the denial of Urdu as a regional language. A student informed DU Beat that despite appealing to the management for the
inclusion of Urdu, the officials rebuked by saying, “If we offer Urdu, then all the Muslims will top.” However, Dr. M.M. Yogi, Officer on Special Duty (OSD), Delhi School of Journalism, said, “Urdu was offered last year but there were not enough students who volunteered to take up Urdu as their regional language. At least a group of 20 students is required to introduce a language in the course.”
Of Promises, Accountability, and ‘Faith’ Delhi School of Journalism organised its orientation programme for the upcoming batch of students on 2nd August 2018. The students of the first year protested near the venue. They submitted a list of demands stating the problems mentioned above, some of which needed immediate attention. The students also demanded the budget for the current annual year and the previous year be made public. Prof. J.P. Dubey, the honourary Director of DSJ, assured the students that these demands will be taken care of, but refused to answer by when. DU Beat spoke to Dr. M.M. Yogi after the protest on 2nd August 2018. She informed that efforts are being made to fulfill the demands of the students since the demands are genuine and not wrong. Adding to that, she said that the administration cannot provide a target date since most things depend on bureaucratic measures that await the approval of higher authorities. On questioning the “leaked budget details” of the year 2018-19, the management informed that the unspent balance of 2017-18 which estimates to INR 46 lakh will be used in setting up the digital media lab and for purchasing the softwares required for the course.
“The bills about the purchases have been made and sent,” she added. She also asserted that there will be enough space to accommodate both the first year and second year students when the college resumes on 6th August 2018. Since the third semester has subjects like design and layout, the students wanted to know whether they will be re-issued laptops. Dr. Yogi informed DU Beat that the students may avail the laptops again after the fee payment of the third semester. She also assured that the students will not suffer any academic loss and every measure will be initiated to establish the best academic facilities.
However, against the backdrop of unfulfilled expectations and invisible progress, OSD’s reassuring words, which are supported by decades of experience, sound unconvincing. As just a year old organisation, DSJ has garnered much bad press. At the risk of portraying an overly optimistic perspective, what needs to be noticed is, from amongst the chaos here is an emerging student democracy at play. One hundred and twenty students are challenging the administration headon and the faculty, in the face of acute allegations, is accepting this rebellion with respect. If nothing, then at least this vibrancy should be accepted and appreciated.
The Current Situation
The situation at DSJ has worsened as students demand basic amenities. From yesterday evening, students have continuously been protesting in the campus premises. Earlier this evening, protesting students had been locked inside the campus. Students have alleged being mishandled by the college guards.
Police officials have attempted to stop students from recording videos at the protest. As of now, 8 students have been suspended until further notice.
(With inputs fron Maknoon Wani)