After organising protests against the University Grants Commission’s (UGC) safety guidelines, students have decided to take their dissent to the next level. Students at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) are all set to organise a referendum on the issue on Thursday. The exercise aims to find out whether students want the controversial guidelines to be implemented on and off the campus.
The referendum is being conducted by Democratic Students Federation (DSF) at JNU. “UGC says it wants to implement the guidelines so that the higher education institutes can be turned into an oasis of ‘safety, security and studies’. We have taken this initiative to conduct a referendum so that the students can give a mandate on whether they will actually feel safe and secure with the implementation of the guidelines or will they shout out and revolt against them and its underlying undemocratic and authoritarian blueprint,” said Ishan Anand, DSF member.
The guidelines mention that entry point to hostels should be manned by armed security guards. The guidelines also stress on installing CCTV cameras and identify entry verification method.
The real major bone of contention of the provision of the guidelines is having a biometric system of marking attendance for students both at the institution and hostels. The guidelines say the move will help resolve the problem of proxy.
The UGC guidelines also recommend establishing university police stations on campus premises and building high-rise walls with barbed wires. The students are unhappy as the guidelines also necessitate having regular parent-teacher meetings and make it mandatory for students to get their parents’ permission before going on any college tour.