Dean Students Welfare prof Navdeep Goyal reflects on a peaceful student election process and talks about the steps they took to curb violence on campus. He also discusses the possibility of PU having four-wheeler-free zones and gives his views on whether the university could hold more referendums.
What are your views on this year’s election process?
I think this year’s election process was more peaceful and much better than the last few years. I am satisfied with the way the election process has gone so far.
Unlike last year, the lead up to this year’s student elections has been largely violence-free except for a few small incidents. What steps did you take to ensure peace during the campaigning process?
The first thing we did was to not allow the student bodies to set up help desks during the admission season. Enmity used to brew from there as party workers used to try influencing the new batch of students. Also, the student groups knew that any seious act of violence will lead to the cancellation of the elections.
There also has been good coordination between the police, Chandigarh administration and PU this year. The police checked the hostels during the run up to the elections and removed the outsiders from the university premises. Police had raided hostel number eight on Monday night and did not find a single outsider.
Did the limited gap between the announcement of elections and the voting process help?
Earlier, the gap used to be even smaller. But the strategy of holding the elections earlier worked (earlier the elections used to take place in the first week of September).
As per Lyngdoh guidelines, the university has to hold the elections within six to eight weeks from the date of admission.
What actions have you taken against those who have violated Lyngdoh guidelines? There has been littering on campus, defacement of public property and cars with stickers of parties have been spotted.
There was littering on the day of the rallies. But we made the student activists clean the mess. They had to clean the area within 48 hours.
As far as the cars plastered with party stickers are concerned, we have issued notices to the student parties. They have also been notified about the presence of outsiders during campaigning and rallies.
Money is being spent to buy the votes this year too. Media has published pictures of buses taking PU students to outstation trips and also to a discotheque in an attempt to get their votes. Can’t the authorities stop this?
The only complaint I had received was regarding few chemical engineering students being taken for a trip. I had immediately informed the chairperson about it. But we have little control over these things as the luring usually takes place outside the campus.
PU will also be conducting a referendum on four-wheelerfree academic areas in Sector 14 and Sector 25 campuses. Are we going to see referendums on other issues like fee hike too?
Conducting a referendum is not an easy task. We had already been holding discussions over a ban on four-wheelers on the campus. We were not sure whether students would be in favour of four-wheeler-free zones as most of the vehicles are theirs only. However, the ban will not be implemented immediately even if the majority of students vote for it. An elaborate proposal will be prepared. We need to have parking lots and see if transportation could be arranged from these parking lots to respective departments.
For other issues like fee hike, referendum is not easy as no one would like to pay more. We need funds to run the university. There has to be support from the government. There is the Pune University model that calls for high affiliation fees, but in our governing body, management of private colleges have a big say.