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32 Days of Students’ Protests in TISS #injusTISS
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TISS Alumni 

Letter of Solidarity by TISS Alumni

March 23, 2018.

This date marks the completion of a month of students’ protests over the withdrawal of fee waivers to Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Other Backward Caste – Non Creamy Layer (OBC-NC) students availing Government of India Post Matric Scholarship (GoI-PMS) in the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). At this juncture, we the undersigned alumni of TISS would like to extend our solidarity and support with the TISS students and join them in appealing for an institutional response to the pertinent questions raised by them.

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On March 10, 2018, after 18 days of protests in all campuses of TISS, the TISS administration offered to enact the fee waivers to the current batches of SC and ST students. As can be interpreted from news reports, the TISS administration also agreed for partial students-aid to the OBC-NC students[i]. However, the administration didn’t address the same concerns apply to future batches of students. This at best can be termed as a piecemeal approach and not a policy adoption. A press release issued by the students points to a deliberate attempt on part of the TISS administration failed to communicate a crucial information from Social Welfare Department, Government of Maharashtra related to the reinstatement of GoI-PMS scholarship for OBC-NC students in 2016 itself[ii]. It has also come to light that the TISS administration has withheld information regarding scholarship for OBC-NC students in Maharashtra and freeships for SC, ST, OBC-NC students. This has potentially impacted hundreds of students including those who aspired to study at TISS but couldn’t because of the above-mentioned reason. Further, in the last two years, there has been a sharp decline in students’ enrolment under OBC-NC category[iii]. TISS is charging exorbitant fees of an average of Rs. 1.3 lakhs per annum, despite being a fully publically funded deemed university[iv] Even the TISS website states that it is ‘A MULTI-CAMPUS PUBLIC FUNDED RESEARCH UNIVERSITY’. It is for this reason, that the fee waivers become critical for TISS to continue to be inclusive and for the higher education space to be democratised. There have been statements in the media that TISS is a ‘private’ deemed university. Such claims seem malicious and it would be worth reiterating that TISS being a fully public funded deemed university is publicly accountable and, liable to implement affirmative action to the fullest.

The administration seems to be selectively putting out news in the media that the ongoing protests are impacting the placements in the institute[v]. To this, as social workers, activists and professionals working in the development sector, on human rights and more, we would like to assert that the students are fighting for the larger cause of social justice. Organisations which are committed to social justice will continue to recruit from the institute. We condemn such tactics of the administration to undermine the protests. We invite the administration to acknowledge the fact that far from being a threat to the reputation of the institution, the protesting students are being the conscience keepers for an institution whose reputation has been built on the cornerstones of inclusion and diversity in the first place.

We understand that the students’ struggle in TISS is for demanding their rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. Several of us have also written to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE). We are alarmed by the decision of the MHRD to give autonomous status to 62 institutes including TISS. We believe that this is a move heavily privatise the few remaining public universities which will result in higher fee structure and will also compromise affirmative action policies. TISS administration has a role to ensure that the vision of TISS is protected, thereby guaranteeing that TISS will continue to be an inclusive institute of higher education.

The students have shown great grit and commitment towards this cause for social justice and educational rights, for their batches and the future students. What started in February 21, 2018, as a call for the strike has extended to a month now. Their original demands of fee waivers to current and future batches of SC, ST and OBC-NC students who avail the GoI-PMS scholarship are yet to be responded to fully. We strongly believe that it is only because of the students’ protests that the MHRD has constituted a team to look into financial issues of TISS and till now released about Rs. 11 crores to the institute. We remain unaware of a formal acknowledgement by TISS regarding this or a promise to use this for the fee waivers.

We, the TISS alumni, offer our support and solidarity to the students as they continue to sustain the struggle for their future batches too. We also stand with the students in other central and state universities who are demanding that the reservation quota be met and action be taken against faculty and administration who have compromised the affirmative action policies etc.

In continuation of earlier appeals submitted through a letter endorsed by over 800 TISS alumni from all 4 campuses, we now appeal to the TISS administration to immediately take measures to ensure dialogue with the protesting students. While doing so, TISS administration should come out with a white paper on the financial details of a minimum of past five years in a time-bound manner and place it before the TISS student community. This document should include all the details regarding scholarship resources and how they were utilised. Further, the TISS administration should come out with a policy document, clearly explaining the steps to ensure that students from SC, ST, and OBC-NC communities are ensured their constitutional guarantees. No student should choose to opt out of TISS because of financial reasons and reasons pertaining to scholarships.

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Sl. No. Name Course
1 Aakriti Pasricha MSW (MH)
2 Aamir Ali BASW
3 Aanchal Gidra MA Development Studies
4 Abdullah A Rahman BASW
5 Abhilasha Sood M.A. Social Work
6 Abhinav Tyagi M.A. Social Work
7 Abhishek dave MSc Climate change
8 Abhishek Kumar MASW DTSA
9 Abhishek Kumar Tiwari MSW (CODP)
10 Abid Faheem M.A. Social WorkEJCF)
11 Aditi MA Development Studies
12 Aditi Gautam M.A. Social Work CODP
13 Aditi Maddali SMCS
14 Afreen LLM
15 Ahmad Fahim MA SW CODP
16 Aiman Khan MA women’s studies
17 Aishwarya Bhuta BASS
18 Ajay Hela.
19 Akanksha MA social work
20 Akanksha S. MA in Globalisation and Labour
21 Akhil Vasudevan MA in Media and Cultural Studies
22 Akshat Krishna M.A. Social Work(DTSW)
23 Albin MA HR
24 Alia Farooqui MA Womens Studies
25 Amar Kharate MA in Globalisation and Labour
26 Ambu G. M.A. in Media and Cultural Studies
27 Amit Kumar MA Development
28 Amol Dadas Rural development
29 Amrita De MA Social Work
30 Anand Dahiya
31 Anant Kumar M.A. Social Work(DTSA)
32 Ananya Chatterji M. A. Education
33 Ananya Satpathy MA Development Studies
34 Anis Ambade M.A. Social Work
35 Anjana bal MA in Social Work
36 Ankita Barthwal MA Development Studies
37 Ankul Baronia M.A. Social Work (DTSA)
38 Ankur Otto M.A. Social Work (CJ)
39 Anmol Somanchi MA Development Studies
40 Antara Chakravorty MA Development Studies
41 Anwesha Dutta
42 Apurva Vivek MA (Social Work)
43 Archismita Choudhury MA Women’s Studies
44 Arunima Haku MA Development Studies
45 Aryendra kumar M.A. Social Workin Rural Development
46 Ashima Chaudhary M.A. Social Work
47 Ashwajit W Meshram MA in Elementary Education
48 Astha Asim Ali MA Development Studies
49 Aswathy MA Social Work in CODP
50 Atif Jung M.A. Social Work
51 Atul Anand MA in Media and Cultural Studies
52 Ayshu MA Health Administration
53 Baldevbhai parmar climate change,
54 Baljeet Kaur M.A. Social Work(CJ)
55 Bela Bhatia, 1983-85 ex Honorary Professor, MSW
56 Bharath Kumar Ganji MA Ecology, Environment & Sustainable Development
57 Bharath Sandip Kumar Development Studies
58 Bijoyetri Samaddar MA Women’s Studies
59 Binu Cherian M.A. Social Work(EJCF)
60 Bipin Kumar MA(Social Work
61 Brahmi Chakravorty M.A. Social Work
62 Chandan Socialwork
63 Charanya R M.A. Social Work
64 Chinmay Shah MA Social Work DTA
65 Deepak Tubid MHA
66 Devaki Purohit MA SW
67 Devanshu Bajpai MA (Social Work)
68 Dheeraj M.A. Social Work
69 Dinesh Chand Meena MA in Social Work
70 Dipti Bapat MA
71 Disha Batra M.A. Social Work
72 Divya S. Sarathy M.A. Social Work
73 Dr Anup Tripathi M.A. Social Work
74 Eashaan kappagantula MA Development Studies
75 Eleanor Almeida MCS
76 Farhana LLM
77 Fateh lal Bheel MASW in Rural Development
78 Fateh Veer Singh Guram BA in Social Sciences
79 Feroze Ahmed j M.A. Social Work -CJ
80 Gaichung Kamei MSW-DSA
81 Gauri Jagdale
82 Gita Mary Petera MA (Social Work)
83 Gracy Aye MA (Social Work)
84 Gurudev Nanda MABA
85 Hanmanthu V MA Social Work
86 Harshad jariwala M.A. Social Work
87 Himanshu Shekhar Sharma, M.A. Social Work
88 Humaira Khan M.A. Social Work(MH)
89 Inayat Singh Kakar M.A. Social Work
90 Jayram Waghchaure HR
91 Jeevika Shiv M.A. Social Work
92 Jenny Sulfath, MPhil,
93 Joy Daniel Pradhan M.A. Social Work
94 Jyotsna MSc Climate Change & Sustainability Studies
95 Jyotsna Siddharth MA Development Studies
96 KanuparthiKrishna MA( RDG)
97 Kanushikha Yadav M.A. Social Work(EJCF)
98 Kartika Meher BA-MA
99 Kausani Bhar MA Development Studies
100 Kimngaihoi Grace Vaiphei MA Development Studies
101 Kimthianhoih MA (social work in public health)
102 Kiningkambe Riame MA (Regulatory Governance)
103 Koushik Mahato M.A. Social Work(CJ)
104 Kritika Agrawal, MCS
105 Krupa Desai M.A. Social Work
106 Lal Bahadur Social work
107 Laxmidhar Singh M.A. Social Work
108 Magare Bhupali Vitthal M. A in Social Entrepreneurship,
109 Mahendran C. MSW
110 Mahesh Raut M.A. Social Work (CODP)
111 Mahipal Mahamatta MCS
112 Manisha Dalabehera, MSW (WCP)
113 Manju Priya K, M.A. Social Work
114 Manohar Lal Vishnoi M.A. Social Work
115 Manshi Asher, MPSW
116 Manvi Dikshit MA Development Studies
117 Mathew Jacob M.A. Social Work
118 Maxwell Saka M.A in Social Work with Specialisation in Public Health
119 Mayank Rana M.A. Public Policy and Governance
120 Md Ilyas Akhter M.A. Social Work
121 Md Tanveer raeni BA- MA five years integrated program
122 minal ingale MA Social Work
123 Mohd Ilyas Akhter MA( Social Work)
124 Mohd Ilyas Akhter, MA SW
125 Mohd Irshad M.A. Social Work
126 Mohsin Khan M.A. Social Work
127 Mridu MA Social Work
128 Muhammed Afsal M.H. M.A Social work in disability studies and action
129 Mukesh Baa MA (Social Work)
130 Muvafaq Sheeshaikh Regulatory Governance
131 Namrata Lama M.A. Social Work(EJCF)
132 Namrata Rawat M.A. Social Work(EJCF)
133 Naseema Khatoon M.A. Social Work(PH)
134 Naveen DS
135 Naveli Gupta M.A. Social Work(EJCF)
136 Neha Dabhade MA SW
137 Ngopuni Poumai MA Social Enterpernuership
138 Nikeka M.A. Social Work
139 Nikita Aggarwal M.A. Social Work (WCP)
140 Nilesh MA Development Studies
141 Nishant Bhagat Climate change,
142 Nishant Shekhar BASW
143 Noor Ameena MA Development Studies
144 Oorna Mukherjee MA Development Studies
145 Payal Karwade M.A. Social Work
146 Pinky Pal M.A. Social Work(EJCF)
147 Pooja Kulkarni M.Sc. Disaster Management
148 Pozii Daile M.A social work
149 Pramod Kalekar DS
150 Pranay Mane M.A. Social Work
151 Prasant Bagde BASW
152 Pratik Mishra BA Social Work
153 Pratik Pandya MA SW
154 Preethish Raja M.A.Social Work in Dalit and Tribal studies and action
155 Radhika Agarwal MCS
156 Rahul MA
157 Rahul Adwani DS
158 Rahul Jambulkar M.A. Social Work
159 Rahul Rasal MSW (EJCF)
160 Rajani Singh M.A. Social Work
161 Rajashree Padmanabhi MSc Climate Change and Sustainability Studies
162 Raju Chalwadi DS
163 Raju Chalwadi MA (Development studies)
164 Rakesh Shaila Rajaram Gamare M A Social Work with Chiledren and Families
165 Ramanek Kumar MSW
166 Rasika Balge M.A. Social Work(EJCF)
167 RATNDIP BHIMRAO GANGALE MA SOCIAL WORK
168 Rijesh Boze MA Health Administration
169 Rinchin MPSW
170 Riya Singh Women’s Studies
171 Riyas MA public policy and governance
172 Robin Ravi MASE
173 Roderick Wijumanai MA Development Studies
174 Roderick Wijunamai MA (Development Studies)
175 Ronak M.A. Social Work
176 Rosamma Sacaria MA(social work)
177 Rosan Minz M.A. Social Work
178 Roshni Verma M.A Social work Women center practice
179 Royina Mahanta MA Social Work in Mental Health
180 Rupesh kumar M.A. Social Work
181 Rwiti Roy MA Social Work WCP
182 Sabina Y. Rahman MA in Social Work (Criminology and Justice)
183 Salman Khan MA(SW) LSE
184 Samir Satpute MSW-DSA
185 Sandeep ghusale M.A. Social Work(CJ)
186 Sanjana Krishnan M.A. Social Work
187 Sanjay Kumar khare CODP
188 Sanjay Paswan, M.A. Social Work
189 Sanjeev Kumar MA in Social Work
190 Saurabh Sinha M.A. Social Work
191 Saurav Aman MA Development Studies
192 Shabana ali. M.A. Social Work
193 Shahid Afroz, GL
194 Shakti H GL
195 Sharib Ali MCS
196 SHIBILI shahadathi M MSW (CODP)
197 Shilpi gulati MCS
198 shiv Kumar Yadav M.A. Social Work
199 Shreya Dixit M.A. Public Policy and Governance
200 Shrish Kalyani
201 Shrish Kalyani MA Social Work
202 Shruti Slaria MA Development Studies
203 Siddharth Satija M.A. Social Work(CJ)
204 Sidney Cavalo M.A. Social Work(DTSW)
205 Smriti Parhi M A Social Work MH
206 Sneha Das Gupta M.A (Development Studies)
207 Snehal Bhagat MHA (Masters in Health Administration)
208 Snehal Shah M.A. Social Work
209 Sonal Pusalkar Women’s studies
210 Sravanthi Dasari M.A. Social Work
211 Sreejith Murali MPhil (Education)
212 Sridhar A MSc Water Policy and Governance
213 Srikrupa V R M.A Social Work
214 Srikrupa VR MA Social Work
215 Sriram A MSc Disaster Management
216 Srishti Kochhar MA Development Studies
217 Sumit MA Education
218 Sumit Asthana MHA- Health
219 Sumit Mahar PGDCM
220 Sunita Vishwas M.A. SOCIAL WORK IN DISABILITY STUDIES AND ACTION
221 Suraj MA Social Work in Rural Development
222 Suraj Gilua RD
223 Susmita Verma MSW CODP
224 Swathi Shivanand MA Development Studies
225 Syed Aiman J Hasaney LLM in Access to Justice
226 Tabrez Alam M.A. Social Work
227 Tanya Dikshit MA Women Studies
228 Tarunesh Umrao Development Studies
229 Teemol Thomas MSW (EJCF)
230 Tenzin Pelyoun M.A. Social Work
231 Upendra Sonpimple Mphil-PhD in Social Work
232 Varun Kumar MA in Development Studies
233 Varun Namineni BA (Social Sciences)
234 Vaseem Chaudhary MCS
235 Vasudha Sawaiker M.A. Social Work
236 Veeresh Kanduri DS
237 Verahu Therie M.Sc. Water Policy and Governance
238 Vijay Avinandan MSW-CODP
239 Vikash KUmar Social WOrk
240 Vinayak pawar M.A. Social Work
241 Vineetha Venugopal MSW (CODP)
242 Vinod Bhosale MA Social Work DTSA
243 Vipul Kumar M.A. Social Work (CJ)
244 Vipul Vivek MA Development Studies
245 Vivek Anand MA SW
246 Vivekanand M.A. Social Work
247 Vriti Bajaj MSW (EJCF)
248 Wungthing keishing MA (social work)
249 Yazur Rajora M.A. Social Work(EJCF)
250 Yuvraj Singh Rajput Disaster Management

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[i] Press Report of PoA available here: http://www.asianage.com/metros/mumbai/130318/tiss-plan-exempts-sc-st-students-from-paying-fees.html

[ii] Press Release by protesting students available here: https://www.facebook.com/tiss4every1/posts/400083803786940

[iii] Decline in OBC students: According to an RTI, the number of OBC students has fallen to 18% in 2016-17 from 27% in 2013. In the intervening years between 2013-14 to 2016-17, there has been a fee hike of 45% and is expected to increase in the upcoming academic years. Reference: https://feminisminindia.com/2018/03/01/injustiss-tiss-student-struggle/

[iv] TISS Prospectus 2016-18: Page 33-34. URL: http://www.tiss.edu/uploads/files/Prospectus2016182792016.pdf

[v] ToI (2018), TISS Protests to affect placements. URL: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/students-protest-at-tiss-likely-to-affect-placements/articleshow/63389333.cms

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