JNU asks PhD, MPhil students to vacate hostel; BAPSA calls UGC, administration ‘insensitive’

JNU VC said that the administration had sent letters to UGC regarding students' issues, but there was no concrete decision, BAPSA said in a statement.

JNU asks PhD, MPhil students to vacate hostel; BAPSA calls UGC, administration ‘insensitive’ JNUSU to hold protest on December 19 in support of MPhil, PhD students. (Image: Shutterstock)
Anu Parthiban | Dec 17, 2022 - 1:05 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: In solidarity with terminal PhD and MPhil students who were asked to vacate the hostel by December 31, the Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students’ Association (BAPSA) has reminded the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and University Grants Commission (UGC) how COVID-19 affected the research students.

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It also demanded the JNU administration and UGC to immediately grant them an extension so that they are not forced to drop out and can complete their courses without any “anxiety and undue pressure”.

The JNU administration said the students can either avail 9B according to ordinance or vacate hostel before New Year 2023. Section 9B is "deprivation of all or any economic or financial resources".

JNU has been “unfairly” asking the PhD and MPhil students to vacate hostels over the last few months. “The administration and UGC are creating a distraction about PhD students exploiting the extensions to stay on campus beyond how much they 'deserve',” the students group said.

The closure of university for many months during the COVID lockdown and the complete curtailment of access to the library, lab, and other university resources to prevent the spread of coronavirus had severely affected academic work. UGC and JNU are “now completely ignorant” of any pandemic repercussions, BAPSA said in a statement.

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“Many students of PhD terminal batches and 2020 MPhil batch (whose admissions happened in January 2021) are in the process of writing their dissertations. Without an extension, they will be forced to deregister and drop out (a likely possibility for MPhil students since NEP 2020 abandoned the MPhil) by losing several years of academic life,” it said. As per the new PhD admission guidelines, the UGC has scrapped MPhil as NEP 2020 does not endorse the degree.

The students group alleged that the JNU administration was blaming students instead of supporting them. The “insensitivity and apathy” of JNU and UGC has created severe stress.

Despite “failing miserably” in extending support for these students, the JNU administration and UGC have been “harassing” the students and not taking responsibility, the BAPSA said.

PhD, MPhil students met JNU VC

On December 15, 2022, PhD and MPhil terminal batch students approached the JNU vice chancellor to discuss their concerns. After keeping them waiting for long hours, and only at the end of the day, she called the students for talks. In a brief meeting, she categorically stated that the admin cannot give an extension for either six months or three months, BAPSA said.

She added that the administration had sent letters to UGC regarding students' issues, but there was no concrete decision. “Nobody is paying heed to their concerns,” disappointed students said.

Also read | IIT Bombay sets up committee for PwD cell; students welcome move

JNUSU calls for protest

On the other hand, JNU students union (JNUSU) is distantly watching, like this burning issue is not of any significance to them, it alleged. “The call by JNUSU for a protest demonstration at UGC on December 19, 2022, will be very late, and the students are constantly anxious and stressed,” they said.

“Even though enough data is not available to say anything about the number of students who might have left due to an inability to finish their PhDs because of the pandemic, it is clear that the students are 'not' staying enrolled in the university or taking any undue advantage,” it further added.

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