Afternoon Voice

Teachers of Presidency University urge students to withdraw agitation

A group of 36 teachers of the Presidency University has jointly urged the agitating students of the institute to withdraw their 12-day-old stir promising them to monitor renovation work of the Hindu Hostel building.

Altogether 50 students have been on an indefinite sit-in at the university campus demanding that they be allowed to stay at the Hindu Hostel which has been on renovation for the past three years.

Ayan Chakraborty, an activist of students’ body Independent Consolidation (IC), today said 36 teachers handed over yesterday a joint letter to the agitating students who comprises members of the IC, SFI and a few others who are not affiliated to any union.

“In the letter, the faculty members urged us to withdraw the movement stating that it is affecting the normal functioning of the institute and promised to monitor the renovation work of the Hindu Hostel,” Ayan said.

They requested the students to withdraw the agitation and go back to the rented premises at Newtown, about 18 km away from the university, for the time being.

“But we turned down their request to withdraw the sit-in as don’t agree with the teachers’ views that the agitation has been affecting the functioning of the university in any way,” Ayan added.

He said, “We are attending classes regularly. We are not disrupting the academic or administrative work. We are just staying at a particular place in the campus.”

The students, who have brought pillows and mattress and were taking bath in the campus turning it into a hostel, demand that they be alloted rooms in the Hindu Hostel, which is under renovation.

The Hindu Hostel, adjoining the College Street institution, had been shut down for repairs on July 29, 2015 and 150 boarders were shifted to a rented accommodation at New Town, which is around 18 km from the university.

The Presidency authorities had last year assured the students that all the six blocks of the hostel would be opened for the boarders after completion of renovation work by the first week of August.

Upal Chakrabarti, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and one of those having signed the letter, said the teachers will continue the dialogue process with the students and university authorities.

A university spokesman said Vice-Chancellor Anuradha Lohia already explained to the students that the renovation work will take five months to complete and urged them to reconsider their decision.

The university hoped the students will understand the situation and cooperate with the authorities, he said.