Despite talks, both sides have no clarity on the final decision. University sources said that the students had a dialogue with the VC about their grievances but there was no clear picture on what the authorities had decided.

Kalyani Mathivanan, Vice-Chancellor, Madurai Kamaraj University, had a nearly two-hour meeting with about 15 student representatives on Monday evening on the hostel issue which rocked the varsity.

Despite talks, both sides have no clarity on the final decision. University sources said that the students had a dialogue with the VC about their grievances but there was no clear picture on what the authorities had decided. The students insisted that there should be status quo in the hostel issue and dividing system should continue.

“I was there with the students from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and they expressed their grievances. I tried to clear the students' doubts and I am unable to convince them yet on how good it will be if the hostel administration is revamped. They are stooping to a low level and what can I do?” the Vice-Chancellor told “The Hindu” on Monday night.

She said that the university administration could go only up to a certain level and students' terms and conditions could not be accepted in toto. “The students were polite but insisting on their stand. If the situation worsens, we may have to close down hostels temporarily. I told the Registrar to follow it up. The Hostel Welfare Committee is working for students' interest. I have no time to get bogged down on one issue,” Prof. Kalyani Mathivanan said.

The representatives of Madurai Kamaraj University Faculty Association (MUFA) have said that they were waiting for the minutes of the students’ meeting with the Vice-Chancellor and further decision could be taken only on the basis of varsity's decisions.

A long wait

Earlier, hundreds of students continued their protest even as the Vice-Chancellor waited in her chamber along with senior officials and faculty members from 10 a.m. to meet them. Even though officials went to the protest spot and pleaded with students to express their grievances directly to the Vice-Chancellor in her chamber, they refused to budge and continued their agitation till evening.

The students are on strike since Thursday demanding that the university should not close down the Malligai, Thiruvalluvar and Bharathidasan hostels and continue with the dividing system for mess charges.

A team of senior varsity officials and faculty members led by Registrar in-charge K. Pitchumani tried to convince the striking students and bring them for talks but in vain.

The hostel issue is getting serious as the Madurai Kamaraj University Faculty Association (MUFA) has extended its support to the students’ agitation and rumours that students of other colleges too are joining the strike in support of hostel students.

Meanwhile, the newly formed Madurai Kamaraj University Students Association (MUSA) has come out with photo evidence to show how the women hostels were facing a crisis because of the recent “hasty decision” taken by the university authorities.

However, the Vice-Chancellor maintained that the operation was taken up only on a representation from students who complained about poor quality of food and unhygienic conditions with poor drainage facilities.

“Only because of closure of Malligai, Thiruvalluvar and Bharathidasan hostels, accommodation problems arose in MKU and there is room crunch right now. Students are being harassed to vacate the rooms as there are plans to give those hostel rooms to students who will be joining the film institute course yet to be started,” S. Krishnaswamy, acting president, MUFA, alleged.

The association also said that students who joined this year in the university were not able to get accommodation because of closure of hostels.

Since morning, the main gate of the university was closed and there was restricted entry. A posse of police personnel was present at the spot.

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