The Panjab University appears not to have learnt much from its past experience. Six months after a dental sciences student ended her life, the university is neither established grievance cells nor appointed a counselor as planned.
Last December, after the university, after Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) student Anukrita Tripathi was found dead in her house in Sector 32, had planned to appoint regular counsellors, assisted by students of the psychology department, to assist students in distress. It had also decided to open grievance cells to prevent students from resorting to drastic measures.
Six months and one more death later, grievance redressal cells lie defunct in most professional colleges under PU. As for the appointment of a counsellor, the decision has become yet another file gathering dust at the university’s administrative department.
Moreover, the central cell established by the university at the psychology lacks the requisite infrastructure.
Panjab University has nearly 15,000 students studying in various departments and professional courses.
“While there had been regular meetings on grievances of students in some departments, I admit that it’s not true for all departments,” said a top PU official, adding that the varsity has already planned to monitor the workings of the departments closely.
Official say that while the board of finances had already cleared the appointment of a regular counsellor, it was delayed due to procedural issues.
PU has now decided to appoint two counsellors-one male and one female.
“We will appoint them first and then seek approval from the syndicate. Vice-chancellor has already cleared the proposal,” said dean, student welfare Navdeep Goyal, adding that the appointment would be made before the start of the next academic session.
Hostel wardens, he said, do intervene in several cases, adding that they would be sensitised.
“Their work is not noticed. But they do identify cases and work on them,” he said, adding that doctors from Post graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research are roped in to counsel extreme cases.
A hostel warden said that there had been occasions, when they invited doctors but students did not turn up.
“We cannot force anybody to attend counselling sessions. Students are uninterested. Very few come forward,” the warden added.