Culture preservation and safety has motivated the University of Delhi (DU) to convert the North Campus into an enclosed area to form a proper campus, much like the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) campus. The initiative will be completed within a year and was informed by the Vice Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi at the executive council (EC) meeting on Saturday 26th October 2019.
Currently, the proposal is in the contact phase where government agencies and departments are told to start the process, an official announcement hasn’t been made yet.
The two-day meeting held on Saturday, was a platform for many issues to be discussed, the IOE proposal, construction of 39-storey building and the closing of North Campus.
However, while these issues may seem independent, they are interconnected. If the EC’s proposal is accepted to enclose North Campus, the construction of the building will be deferred. And, IOE (Institute of Eminence) proposal would pave way for the closing of North Campus.
EC member Rajesh Jha, said, “We have always demanded that the campus should be closed as we want DU to have a character of its own just like JNU and other varsities in the country. The closed campus will also help authorities improve the security on the varsity premises.”
North Campus is a hub of academics at the University of Delhi, with many colleges and departments within meters of each other, and so, it has always witnessed the greatest college student footfall. This raises some serious questions regarding the safety of the students, with recent developments in many violent cases taking place at North Campus. This concept will increase the safety of students manifold. However, it may subject them to false seclusion and isolation. The culture of campus may be gone when only students of those colleges could take part in it, and not all could witness it.
Interviewing students from all over the campus, DU Beat received many mixed responses. Here’s what DU students have to say about this.
Aditi Raj, Daulat Ram College, North Campus said “The idea seems far-fetched, I don’t know how they will manage to do it. The campus is full of roads that connect two parts of the city. And other universities like JNU, have a huge campus with all departments to enclose, where we are just calling few colleges and departments the entire university campus.”
Satviki Sanjay, Miranda House, North Campus said, “I don’t think DU North Campus should be closed. To ‘maintain its culture’ sounds like a terrible reason as DU ‘culture’ is not just limited in the North Campus but also the other colleges. Closing it would just strengthen the already prevalent elitism in the North Campus. Moreover, there are logistical issues that need to be resolved. DU North Campus is not just educational institutions but an entire ecosystem of students, teachers, market places, transportation and all which make DU North Campus what it is and closing it would rather hamper the ‘culture’.”
Akshat Arora, Motilal Nehru College, South Campus said, “I feel like restricting an area to a limited number of students will work against your intentions if you intend to preserve “cultures”.”
Whereas, A counter-opinion also existed among the DU students. Priyanshu Sinha, Delhi School of Journalism, North Campus believes, “When we step out of the Vishwavidyalaya Metro Station to head towards our respective colleges, it feels more like going to an isolated corporate office than going to a University. Like JNU, Delhi University needs to have a closed campus.”
Many times the argument comes that DU is a collegiate like Oxford which is based in the Oxfordshire. But then we forget that Oxfordshire is completely established for Oxford University whereas Delhi is a diverse city having government offices, corporate buildings along with the University. It doesn’t feel like a University campus when cars flock all the time, outsiders who have nothing to do with the college or the education roam around in the campus. It also dilutes unity of the campus as a single entity. This step by the administration is very pleasant and we welcome it wholeheartedly.”
Pranavi Prabhakaran, Daulat Ram College, North Campus, told DU Beat, “North Campus is a truly important academic area. It’s only surprising that this move hadn’t been taken earlier. I hope it will be cleaner now.”
While different opinions surface in the University, many questions like whether the infamous Hudson Lane and Patel Chest Photocopy Lane be part of mainstream campus? Will the stalls and Chai corners that exist, still cease to exist? Will colleges provide parking spots to those who earlier parked outside?
To answer all these questions and many more, a formal official notification is awaited.
Feature Image Credits: Dailymail