VIPs, including judges, senior police officials, several administration officials and the Chief Minister herself, will be attending the much-delayed function

With judges, senior police officials, several administration officials and the Chief Minister herself attending, the much-delayed convocation function of the University of Madras next week promises to be a gala affair.

But missing this year will be parents and family members of many students.

With a view to ensure maximum security, the University has restricted the number of visitors to just one person per student, a decision that has upset the graduating students.

The University is holding the function after almost two years.

“This is very unfair, as convocation is a celebration for the entire family. Most of us come from very poor families and are the first graduates. We waited for more than two years for this day,” said a student who hails from Dharmapuri and is a gold medallist in philosophy.

“Till last year, we could bring two people, and ask for more passes in case we wanted to bring our relatives to the function. This year, however, we have been strictly asked not to bring in more than one person,” she added.

Many students said they had booked tickets for both their parents but might end attending the convocation alone.

“It is a day for us to be happy with our families. Fewer VVIPS could have been invited so that at least both our parents could have been there with us,” said another student.

According to sources, more than 300 VIPs and over 100 VVIPs, including the Governor, all the ministers, secretaries, and vice-chancellors of all the universities in the State, have been invited to attend the function.

Officials at the university, however, said the delay in holding a convocation by the previous vice-chancellor had led to the restriction on the number of family members attending the convocation this time.

“This time, there are 1,200 Ph.Ds instead of 300, and over 200 gold medallists. It is not logistically possible to let students bring their entire families because the seating capacity of the hall is only 3,000,” said a senior official at the University.

“Even while inviting MLAs, we have made sure only those in the city have been sent invites,” he added.

Officials also cited security concerns.

“The Chief Minister is coming to the University after many years. We have also requested her to plant some saplings and inaugurate a new arch at the university. We want to make sure the number of visitors is limited to ensure maximum security,” an official said.

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