Suggesting ulterior motives opposed to students’ interests, an open letter in resistance to Vice Chancellor, professor Yogesh Singh has been drafted by concerned students of Delhi Technological University.
On 6th August 2020, a seven page documented letter was addressed to Lieutenant Governor of Delhi by students of Delhi Technological University (DTU) complaining about the alleged behavior of their Vice Chancellor(VC), professor Yogesh Singh as stated in the letter, being in “serious violations of the Standard Operating Procedures(SOP) in government machinery, mismanagement and practicing dictatorship for vested interests.”
The letter accounted for various grounds of students’ grievances such as University’s intention of conducting Artificial Intelligence (AI) proctored exams during May-July’20, which met with a heavy protest from their end considering the spread of the virus. They expressed their disbelief with the VC who also happens to be the chairman of the Finance Committee and the Planning Board with claims of him giving interviews to national media publications such as Navbharat Times about furthering resources to students without actually doing so on the ground.
The letter also hinted towards misuse of power by saying, “Students received threatening calls from the office of the VC to call off the protests or to face action. This is a serious matter according to them because as per SOP of DTU, the respective Heads of Department should have called students in such matters to sort things out, but using him(VC) for intimidating them was severe.”
Another significant issue put forth by students was that of annual fees which sparked protest recently in July/August 2020. The letter highlighted, “On 30th July 2020, the administration released a notice dated 24th July 2020 (it took the administration 6 days to upload the notice on the official site) demanding a hefty annual fee of INR 1.90 lakhs from the students to be paid by 5th August 2020 i.e. within 2 working days. The notice clearly stated that after the mentioned date students will have to bear heavy fines and after 27th August 2020 their names will be struck off from the university records.”
The notice in question can be found here: http://www.dtu.ac.in/Web/notice/2020/july/file0734.pdf
“We want an extension for dates for fee submission. Other universities provided at least a month’s time, whereas we were given hardly not even six days, out of which three were bank holidays. Covid has hit us hard, it’s tough to accumulate savings and pay the entire fees in such less time. Instead of giving us concessions for not using a lot of services we are getting fined for late payment. It’s very unfair.”-anonymous student from DTU expressed concerns over fees non-payment to DU Beat
“Whoever protests, a Board of Disciplinary Committee (BoD) is set against them, don’t get me wrong, I don’t intend to defame my university at all, I sincerely love and am proud of it, but if there are issues which needs to be addressed and the administration just turns it’s back towards it, then there’s no option but to protest. However, if you do, a very dangerous body which everyone is afraid of called BoD is set against you making you helplessly withdraw from the movement or even face severe punishment of suspension from college or any internship or job opportunities in future as well.”-anonymous student from DTU expressed fear over disciplinary bodies to DU Beat
The letter further alleged that varsity “misused the Training and Placement Department (TnP) via the means of WhatsApp. On 4th/5th August 2020, at midnight, the TnP released a message via internal college WhatsApp groups, asking students to either pay their fees by the deadline or be restricted from sitting in placements. This is a first of its kind move in the 80 year history of the college as fees is a matter which does not even fall under it’s the jurisdiction.” The letter hints at the fact that this step is in non- concordance with government protocol as WhatsApp messages can’t be taken as official ones. Any proper notice regarding the issue on portal, email, during working hours was not made available, instead it was made so at the stroke of midnight via unofficial networks.
The letter elaborated, “The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the university has given a public statement to the media that the expenses of the university remain the same even during the pandemic. Any sane person would understand that none of the campus amenities like Lab Infrastructure, Computer Center, Library, Academic Departments, etc have been used since March 2020. This raises the question, how expenses of the University which has only conducted online classes via free platforms like Google Meet for a few weeks in April, remain the same as it was prior to the pandemic?”
As per the DTU-Students’ Association (SA), the VC has refused to listen to any matters regarding the annual fee. Stressed and agitated from little to no communication regarding their grievances students are feeling helplessness. The letter claims that Class Representatives have received threatening calls, students who submitted applications for relaxation in fees, payment method, and/or deadline have met with disorganised or no responses. They were given no written on documented proof except verbal assurances which hold no credibility.
The students’ body has put forth five basic demands consisting of enquiry against the Vice Chancellor of DTU, Professor Yogesh Singh, appointment of an interim VC till the enquiry goes on, constitution of a ‘Grievance Redressal Committee’ to be headed by the hon’ble LG Delhi with due representation looking into the grievances of students related to the fee, enquiry into the financial statement of DTU in last 5 months, and immediate roll back of the Annual Fee Notice 2020.
The letter addresses the issue by saying that on paper there is a grievance redressal committee with compulsory student representation, but in reality not a single meeting has been held as of yet. It claims that during these tough times of the worldwide pandemic, he(VC) has taken absolutely ‘autocratic’ decisions which have caused grave harm to the brand name of DTU and this will ultimately affect all the stakeholders of the University.
Feature image credits: DTU