A couple of days back, the administration of the University of Delhi (DU) speculated the establishment of nine institutions which would impart specialised courses. However, the student community claims that before opening new institutions, the government must look at the infrastructural issues that the recently opened institute, the Delhi School of Journalism (DSJ), has been facing ever since its inception last year.
Located in the University Stadium Campus, the college has been at the locus of violent student agitations. The major cause of resentment amongst the student fraternity is the alleged lack of infrastructure that the administration had promised them. The institute, belonging to the self-financing genre, charges exorbitant sums of money as tuition fee from the students with amounts reaching well beyond INR 65,000. The pupils allege that even after paying such stupendous sums of money, they’re not being provided the infrastructure that had been promised to them. Following this, an agitation had broken out in the last week of August 2018, wherein the students had reportedly remained on a strike against the administration for two days, and it was alleged that the students had been locked inside the campus during the night hours.
The management at the Delhi School of Journalism had also suspended 8 students in this connection, which was then revoked in response to the withdrawal of the students from the protests. This reportedly came subsequent to the intervention of the OSD and the VC. Only after the student community was assured that a concrete solution shall be found to the problem, the protests were called off.
The administration, however, seems to have had put the case aside once the agitations were over. The DSJ student body alleges that the Vice Chancellor neither met with the student body nor addressed their issues. Fresh protests in order to have the demands met, however, broke out in DSJ on 18th September 2018. The furious student fraternity stood as a united front against the administration. It is said that a meeting held with the Proctor on 14th September 2018 turned out to be a conduit of dispute and agitation. Allegedly, the Proctor shook her hands off the earlier promise, stating that she can’t promise the redressing of even a single of the demands on the student manifesto, be it the construction of a library, construction of a hostel, or even the Media Lab which is considered ‘food’ for students pursuing journalism.
The students claim that they find the college area too cluttered. They add that in the absence of a library, it becomes tough for them to access adequate resource material pertaining to their discipline, and the absence of a reading room in the already cluttered campus makes it difficult for the students to engage in any productive self-study at the college.
The situation, however, took a different route altogether, when, during the newly erupted volcano of protests, a second-year student and agitator, Ambuj Bharedwaj, was arrested by the Delhi Police, which had been called in by the DSJ administration to curb the protests. It is claimed that the student was dragged by his neck openly in the college by the policemen and was brutally thrashed by the police while in custody. The students feel that the management is adopting the use of force and physical penuries to curb their right to something they have already paid for in full. Thus, according to the student fraternity, their upsurge wasn’t trampled upon by the false promises made on the management’s end. In fact, it gained a new impetus because of the use of police force. Hence, the students have decided to remain in DSJ’s campus through the night on protests, with eyes looking desperately for a solution to their problem.
DU Beat tried reaching out to the administration at the Delhi School of Journalism, but that didn’t prove feasible. Hence, their take on the matter shall be updated here as and when it is procured.
With inputs from students at DSJ.
Feature Image Credits: Rishabh Gogoi for DU Beat