Students at University of Mumbai (MU) have nowhere to complain about academic problems as the university’s Student Grievance Redressal Cell (SGRC) has not been working for the last six months.
The previous body was dissolved by the university, after its term ended on August 31. The state, which was preparing to bring a new law to govern public universities, had issued a resolution preventing fresh elections for all university committees, including the grievance cell.
The students, meanwhile, are bearing the brunt of the administrative mess. “When we approached the university official regarding an exam-related issue, we were told they won’t be able to look into the complaint, as there’s no grievance cell in the university. They told us that it will be months before the new act is implemented and a new complaint redressal mechanism is set up,” said Devaki Dave, a student from KM Kundnani College of Pharmacy, Cuffe Parade.
With no help from officials and little knowledge about the inner workings of MU, students often have to run from pillar to post to get their grievances heard. “Students who are facing issues have nowhere to go. They keep making rounds of various offices in the university with little success,” said Sachin Pawar a student from New Law College, Matunga. He added that the grievance cell must be housed in Kalina campus of the university instead of Fort campus, as most of the academic departments, including the examination department, are located in Kalina.
“From availability of study material to payment of fees, the students are facing many issues. But there’s no one to listen to them in the college or the university. So, the students simply put their grievances on social media,” said Santosh Takale, a teacher from KC College. “We don’t know where to go in order to file our complaints. The online mechanism of sending grievances also appears to be broken,” adds Khoj Agarwal, a CA aspirant.
The SGRC office has received around a dozen complaints in past few months, but they are lying in cold storage. As per the norms, the grievances are required to be resolved within a month. With the government, reportedly, waiting for budget session of state assembly to pass the new universities law, the cell is unlikely to be formed any time sooner.
While the university has put in place a temporary senate, academic council, management council and board of examination, consisting of ex-officio members - the varsity office bearers - and few nominated members, so far no such provision has been made for grievance cell. According to sources, the university may soon appoint an ad-hoc committee to deal with the grievances, as well.
However, there are concerns about the legality of an ad-hoc committee. “The ad-hoc committee won’t have any legal sanctity. It may help in resolving the issues amicably between warring parties, but won’t be able to give a verdict,” said an MU official.