21st February 2018.
TISS, Mumbai, observes 100% university strike against privatisation of higher education and withdrawal of financial aid to SC-ST-OBC(NC) students
TISS students union gave a call for university strike on 21st February 2018 against the recent notification of TISS admin to withdraw financial aid to GOI-PMS students from SC/ST category across all its campuses. Financial aid had already been withdrawn for OBC students in 2015. Along with this TISS has been constantly hiking fees given which many students have been forced to drop out or never applying here. Students held a resistance march in campus last night .
Today since 7am students were out in the campus to make the strike a success. After getting a successful shut down of all classes in campus today afternoon around 500 students gathered at the TISS main gate and blocked the gate. After 3 hours of demanding the admin to meet students at gate the admin finally gave in and met the students. Students in Hyderabad, Guwahati, Tuljapur also held protests in their campuses. The admin refused to give in to demands of students on the spot and asked for 24 hours to respond to our demands.
TISS ex director Parasuraman, who is still in the campus, addressed the students in a derogatory manner , going to the extent of saying that institution has been doing a favor to the students since past 14 years by providing them financial aid. He was also heard murmuring abusive words on the face of students while talking. The students have decided to keep the protest going till demands are met by the admin. The kind of fee that TISS demands, the withdrawal of financial aid along with central government doing fund cut are completely against the spirit of affirmative action which seeks to provide opportunity to students to study in universities like TISS.
Over 500 students in different levels of their degree are impacted and stand to be further impacted by these policies. The enrolment of students from OBC category has already dropped in the institute. An estimated 9% drop has already been witnessed and now the SC ST students will also be dropping out if the situation continues. TISS is on its way to becoming a world class university where social category will only become redundant over time. Students have also been trying to talk to different ministries like Ministry of social welfare , ministry of tribal affairs but we have received nothing beyond false hopes and empty promises.
In view of these developments students have no other way left but to agitate and raise their demands. Students are going to continue to occupy the tiss main gate, continue the strike tonight and also for more days if needed. We request all students to join the strike and intensify the struggle. We request the media houses to come at tiss main gate and help us reach our voice to higher authorities. We also feel that the faculty should come to protest site and extend support. We also appeal to students in other universities in Mumbai, who have been facing similar issues to extend support and come to tiss protest site tomorrow morning and discuss further strategy for carrying ahead this struggle.
Other media coverage: The Hindu, The Indian Express, Mid-day, The Times of India, Mumbai Mirror, Scroll, NDTV
[Via Girly Merlin Nirichan]