JNU allows phased entry for PhD scholars, staff in science schools and special centres
Jawaharlal Nehru University on Wednesday announced that the university would reopen in a phased manner from November 2 for final-year PhD scholars and project staff who require laboratory access, only in science schools and special centres.
The decision comes three days after JNU students’ union leaders camped at the north gate of the campus as a part of an indefinite round-the-clock sit-in to demand phased entry of research scholars. A small area inside the campus has been barricaded by the students.
“Final-year PhD research scholars, including 9B students, who require to enter the campus (day scholars) for access to laboratories and to submit their PhD thesis on or before December 31, 2020 or before June 30, 2021 and project staff in science schools and centres, are allowed,” registrar Pramod Kumar said.
Kumar said the decision was taken since science students need the laboratory. “The library will remain closed and students with humanities background can work on their research at home while accessing the e-resources we have made available for them,” he said.
While day scholars can enter the campus from November 2, hostellers will have to wait longer.
In the notice, Kumar said a phased reopening for final-year PhD research scholars, including those who had received 9B extension -- only in science schools and centres -- would be allowed from November 16.
Student leaders were not completely happy with the move. “This is concerning because research scholars with a non-science background, who are hostellers, would still not be able to access the campus,” Saket Moon, JNUSU vice-president, said.
Earlier in the day, JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh said, “During our meeting with the dean of students and chief security officer over the matter, we made it clear to the officials, particularly DoS, that there should be no discrimination between streams in the re-entry of research scholars and those with submissions of all courses must be immediately allowed to return.”
Shivam Chaurasia, president of the JNU unit of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, said, “We have been giving representations and memorandums and it is only now that the administration has allowed day scholars and hostel-residing final-year science scholars to access their respective laboratories. We want a phased-wise return of each and every student and we are not going to relent on this demand.”
The Central library, canteen, and dhabas will remain closed during the two phases of reopening and the Aarogya Setu app has been made mandatory for students and all employees.
Students have also been asked to undergo “self-quarantine” for seven days after arrival in Delhi from outstation or before entering the university and submit a self-declaration form as well.
Deans and chairpersons have been given three days to submit their plan of action on the matter and constitute a school or central-level monitoring committee to ensure Covid-19 protocols are implemented.
They have also been asked to prepare a list of students and staff who need to access libraries and submit it to the administration. A roster of students using the lab will be maintained at all times to ensure social distancing.
For over a month now, the JNUSU has been demanding a phased entry for research scholars into the campus, citing the Union home ministry guidelines released in August and September. Both the guidelines said research scholars and postgraduate students of technical and professional courses requiring labs can be allowed to visit the campus-based on an assessment of the situation.
Earlier this month, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) had ordered a “status quo” on all permitted activities in the capital – meaning higher education institutes would remain out of bounds.
While JNU students who had gone back home during the Covid-19 lockdown were not allowed to return due to the increasing number of cases on the campus, those at DU had it easier with the university allowing a phased entry of its research scholars requiring lab work in August.
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