A students' referendum was held at Jawaharlal Nehru University here on Tuesday over the issue of amending the JNU statutes to extend a Vice-Chancellor's tenure beyond one term.
The JNU Teachers' Association and many student groups have been opposing the move to amend the JNU statutes to give the V-C another term.
Aradra, a student, said: “The five years of the [present] V-C's tenure have been unsatisfactory. Thus not just politically active students but also ordinary students have come to vote. Even if there was a progressive V-C in office, we would still be opposed to amending of JNU statutes.”
Shivani, a student who was helping out with the voting procedure, said: “We intend to submit the mandate results to members of the JNU Executive Council which is due to meet on April 27. The JNUTA and the karamcharis have already registered their opposition to the V-C seeking a second term.”
About certain media reports in which JNU V-C Prof. B. B. Bhattacharya has been quoted as saying that he was not interested in a second term, Shivani added: “If the V-C does not intend to stand for a second term, he should have constituted a search committee to appoint a new V-C in January.”
A "Referendum Committee", consisting of senior students of the campus, was constituted for holding the referendum and observing all due processes as was done in JNU Student's Union elections. The day-long voting was conducted by this body.
Former JNUSU president Sandeep Singh said: “Voting will occur in two sessions from 9 a.m. till 2 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. For the referendum to take place eleven booths have been arranged. The booths have been divided on the basis of various centres in JNU. Lists have been prepared of students from each of the centres. Students have to show their identification cards before voting.”
In the first part of voting from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., more than 1,600 students cast their vote. By 7-30 p.m. about 2,200 students had cast their vote and more than 3,000 students were expected to cast their votes in total, he added. Counting of votes would take place late on Tuesday night after 11 p.m.
The All-India Democratic Students' Organisation, All-India Students' Association, Democratic Students' Union, National Students' Union of India, Progressive Students' Union, Students' Federation of India and the United Dalit Students' Forum said in a common statement: “The anti-student, anti-social justice and pro-commercialisation track record of the present administration and moreover its attempts to renew its tenure for another five years has to be resolutely voted against at the referendum. It is to uphold the longstanding participative and accountable functioning of JNU and its socially inclusive democratic ethos that the student community must unite to say a firm no in the referendum.”
Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, too, has voiced its opposition to the V-C seeking another term.
Keywords: Students' choice