After many years of protesting and demanding to get a ‘formal’ representation in the senate, current student leaders at the Panjab University (PU) will be contesting the Senate election for the first time, claiming that they will represent the university students and their long-pending demands, which the Senators have failed to highlight so far.
Although the senate elections will be held in 2017, the preparations have already begun. Not only the senior leaders, but some of the student leaders as well who are still pursuing their studies on the campus are all set to contest the senate elections this time.
Student leaders, including Uday Bhan Singh, Vicky Middukhera, Simran Dhillon, Chandan Rana and Bhim Waraich among others, who will be in the election race next year, argue that there is no point of participating in the Senate meet when the students are not even allowed to speak a word. Thus, they wish to be a part of the meet officially so that they could raise the issues and help the students.
Uday Bhan Singh, senior leader of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) and a PhD student in botany department, PU, who will be contesting the Senate election this year, said, “I have been in the university since very long now and have been a part of many of the protests against the varsity administration, demanding for a representation to the student leaders. What is the point of sitting in the Senate meeting when the student leaders are not even allowed to speak? How are we going to share our issues?”
He said, “It was only in 2013, when the V-C had allowed the students leader Chandan Rana to sit in the Senate meeting, but only to see the proceedings and not speak a word. We are preparing to contest the election for a simple reason that we need to put forth many long-pending issues relating to the students’ welfare.”
In this regard, the Students Union of the PU a few years ago had constituted a Joint Action Committee (JAC) to raise the issues of the students and to demand representation in the Senate, but to no effect.
However, Students Organisation of India (SOI) state chief Vicky Middhukhera said, “We wish to break the barrier between the students and the authorities here on the campus. There are many demands including, bringing parity between self financed and regular courses, which we need to highlight at a larger scale. This is the reason we have decided to contest the election for the first time.”
Meanwhile, one of the Senators, Dr Gurdeep commenting on this initiative said, “We do not have any problems if the students wish to contest the election; rather, it is a great opportunity as they will get a chance to represent the personal problems of university students. I personally believe that since there is a democratic set up on the campus, students have the right to participate in the Senate. Thus, it is good that the student leaders will be contesting the election.”
Echoing the same opinion, former students’ union leader and now a Senator DPS Randhawa said, “We will support the students, from day one since we have always wanted this. When I was president of the campus students’ council, we had given a lot of representation to the chancellor, the v-c and the ministries also for allowing us to be a part of the Senate, but nothing was conceived. It will be good to see students’ council members becoming the ex-officio members of the Senate and highlighting the key issues of the university students.”
He also said, “When we elect members of the student council, democratically, we can do the same in the Senate as well.”