The schedule for the lecture series on social justice titled “Democracy and Social Justice: Access and Equality” to be organised between January 18 and January 25 at Freedom Square in JNU has been released.
The JNU Teachers’ Association has chosen to “reclaim Freedom Square” which has now become a spot where public meetings have been banned by the administration. The lectures scheduled to be held between 4 p.m. and 6 30p.m. will include topics such as “Crisis of democracy and the question of rights” by Bezwada Wilson, “The new grammar of caste by Ashwini Despanede and Adivasis and the politics of the Right by Archana Prasad will be held on the first day. Other speakers scheduled to speak include Sohail Hashmi and Madhu Prasad on “JNU’s deprivation points system-history and politics”, Yogendra Yadav on “UGC, universiy autonomy and social justice” and Rajani Tilak on “Caste and gender intersection in the idea of social justice” among others.
The lecture series was planned after the Executive Council of the university decided to implement the UGC notification of May 5 that makes the interview the sole criteria for admission into MPhil/PhD courses. Various internal committees of the university has recommended that the weightage given to the interview be reduced so that the admission process could be more inclusive.
Earlier, after a successful two-day university strike, nine students that were suspended by Jawaharlal Nehru University for allegedly disrupting the 142nd Academic Council (AC) meeting
held on December 26 were allowed to register themselves for the winter semester 2017.
However, the inquiry against them still continues. Calling the development a step ahead for the united struggle of the JNU community, the JNU Students’Union said that it rejects any such “vindictive inquiry” and will resist any further attempts to victimise the students.
The nine students, who belong mostly to marginalised and oppressed communities, were protesting outside the venue of the AC meeting against the discussion of an item on the agenda to increase the importance of the interview for admission into MPhil/PhD courses in accordance with a UGC notification of May 5, 2016 and a hike in the admission process.
The students were served suspension notices on December 27, the day after the meeting without the usual democratic process of setting up an inquiry committee.
The suspension came a day after the administration released a statement saying that the AC meeting had been conducted peacefully and it was only after that meeting was over that a few students entered the meeting room and shouted slogans.
The students found support from teachers and students for what they called a “vindictive and arbitrary method of slapping students with suspension notices on false and trumped up charges” by the proctors office.
Some of the teachers who came out in support of the nine students were also served notices for speaking at a public meeting outside the administration block.
The JNUSU also lashed out at the administration for “structurally killing social justice and destroying JNU’s inclusive character.” .