‘Why Pay For Library, Lab Amid Lockdown?’: PU Students Protest Fee

The college has been on a lockdown since 22 March and there is no plan to reopen the college anytime soon.

Updated
India
4 min read
Students of Pondicherry University have demanded that the management rework the fee structure.
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Students of Pondicherry University have demanded that the management rework the fee structure as they have been asked to pay for amenities that the students are not availing of during this lockdown period.

What is The Issue?

The university sent a circular to the students in the first week of August asking them to pay the fees by 17 August. However, this includes fees under the heads, Library Fund, Computer Lab Fund, Students’ Welfare Fund, Field study/tour Fund, Sports Fund and Medical Examination/ Facilities Fund. The college has been on a lockdown since 22 March and there is no plan on the cards to reopen the college anytime soon.

The fees structure for M.Sc. and M.Tech. programmes.
The fees structure for M.Sc. and M.Tech. programmes.
(Photo Courtesy: Pondicherry University)
The fees structure for Ph.D. programmes.
The fees structure for Ph.D. programmes.
(Photo Courtesy: Pondicherry University)

‘Insensitive’: Student Council

The Student Council has written several letters to the university vice-chancellor stating that the university’s demand for the full semester fee is “insensitive.”

“At the time of severe unemployment and wage cuts, students cannot afford to pay huge amount of fees,” the letter read.

The Student Council has written several letters to the University Vice-Chancellor stating that the university’s demand for the full semester fee is “insensitive.”
The Student Council has written several letters to the University Vice-Chancellor stating that the university’s demand for the full semester fee is “insensitive.”
(Photo Courtesy: Pondicherry University Student Council)

Pondicherry University also known as PU is a renowned central university with 14 schools and 52 departments, is situated in Kalapet, Pondicherry.

What is the Students’ Pulse?

Rupsha, a student of MA Anthropology, pointed out that the deadline has been extended till 31 August but with a penalty fine.

“Many of us don’t even have internet connections, phones, broadband connections. Why should we pay for something we are not even getting?”
Rupsha, Student, MA Anthropology

An MBA student Eyrnaidu said, “The fees is about Rs 62,000 for MBA students and it is very difficult to pay fees right now. Because during this pandemic, many have lost their jobs. My parents are daily wage labourers and have no work to do now.”

The student council in their representation to the management had also mentioned that the students from states which have faced natural calamities during this pandemic are “struggling to even keep themselves safe.”

At the time of a pandemic, some of us have lost family members, relative and breadwinners. Many students from Northeast region, many are from agriculture background. So the Assam floods has not just left them homeless but destroyed their harvest as well. And for private sectors, many have not been paid for the last four months, which has made it very difficult for the family to meet their day to day needs,” said Anisha Kachari, a student of South Asian Studies.

“Are we supposed to be paying for fees or monthly rental for wifi?”
Anisha Kachari, Student, South Asian Studies Department

‘No Response From the Management:’ Student Council

“We have written to the Dean of Student Welfare, asked for an appointment with the Vice Chancellor, but it has been two weeks and we have got no response. We sent a mass mail representation and we have started giving video testimonies from students across the country,” Parichay Yadav, President of the Student Counci,l told The Quint.

When The Quint reached out to faculty members they said they couldn’t interfere with the management’s decision. However, they said they hoped the management considers the students’ plea as most of them are in a difficult financial situation.

Already a Pending Case of Fee Hike in PU

Since 6 February, hundreds of students have undertaken marches, boycotted classes, held sit-in demonstrations inside the campus, all in an effort to ‘Occupy Admin’ till the fee hike is revoked as the fees for many courses in the university were hiked exorbitantly last year.

Since 6 February, hundreds of students have undertaken marches, boycotted classes demanding that the fee hike be revoked.
Since 6 February, hundreds of students have undertaken marches, boycotted classes demanding that the fee hike be revoked.
(Photo Courtesy: Pondicherry University)
The student council members pointed out that this ongoing fight was to make public education accessible and affordable for every student.
The student council members pointed out that this ongoing fight was to make public education accessible and affordable for every student.
(Photo Courtesy: Pondicherry University)

For instance, the fees for the MBA course was Rs 74,200 earlier and the revised fee is Rs 1,45,335, which is a 95.9% increase. Similarly, fees for MSc/MTech (Computer Science) courses was Rs 31,300 and the revised fee is Rs 70335, which is an increase of nearly 120%.

Students said this issue stands unresolved.

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