TISS announces closure of academic activities as unrest continues

With the students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) continuing their agitation despite the efforts of the Management Committee and faculty of TISS-Hyderabad to end the same, Shalini Bharat, director of TISS-Mumbai, has announced the closure of academic activities indefinitely till the situation improved.

The Management Committee members believed that the students had understood the efforts being made by it and accepted the suggestions, but they were dismayed that the students were still not willing to call off the strike even on Monday, July 15. As the protesting students created extremely disturbing conditions for the faculty, staff and other students to function, the administration was left with no choice but to declare a closure of academic activities indefinitely.

The closure notice on the website explained how the unrest has been kept alive by the students. “As the appeals and efforts by the faculty went in vain, we wonder whose agitation this was and who is gaining from it, certainly not the students and not the institute too,” she said.

“The events of the last week from July 8 to July 15 at Hyderabad off-campus left us deeply disturbed and greatly anguished,” she said in an open letter to the staff and faculty. A malicious campaign was on suggesting institute’s inaction as the reason for the stalemate while the fact was that the Management Committee of the Hyderabad campus spent the whole week trying to address the issues raised by the students.

Two main demands

She said the two main demands raised by the students were bridging the gap between the scholarship amount provided by the GOI post-matric and the actual living expenses at the hostel and institute’s mediation between students and the private service provider to ensure lowering of hostel tariffs for all students. Prof. Shalini Bharat said contrary to the reports circulated, TISS was the only institute in the country to provide this kind of support to students to a large extent depending on student aid fund availability.

But in the recent times, the institute was facing resource crunch due to insufficient grants from the government, depletion of its own corpus money and increase in the number of students. So, it now raised funds for providing financial aid to students.

For the academic year 2018-19, TISS mobilised ₹35 lakh and disbursed amounts as financial aid to needy students at Hyderabad campus. Up to ₹55,000 per year per student has been sanctioned to support their hostel charges, she said.

However, the institute could not promise a fixed amount for all future batches due to varying amount of the aid.

Regarding hostel tariff, she said in the 2019 admission notice, the Hyderabad campus was notified as a non-residential campus. But TISS facilitated the process of negotiation between the students and the hostel owner-cum-service provider. The final tariff negotiated was lesser than that of the last year. But the service provider wanted upfront payment for six months as earlier batch of students did not pay on time and owed him ₹6.5 lakh. Of the total dues of ₹11.78 lakh, TISS, through its student aid, cleared ₹5.23 lakh.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 3:15:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/tiss-announces-closure-of-academic-activities-as-unrest-continues/article28525366.ece

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