CHENNAI: The top management of the University of Madras has indicated that classes in the Department of Politics and Public Administration will begin on Monday, albeit with a rider - students should not protest over any issue and give a written undertaking to that effect. Registrar David Jawahar confirmed this to Express on Thursday evening.
Ten students were suspended on Monday for demanding reinstatement of professor Ramu Manivannan as the Head of the Department. On Wednesday, the University had passed orders suspending all classes in the department, after continuos protests by students against the alleged demotion of Manivannan, who was the acting HoD.
Shockingly, students of the department told Express that they were barred from entering the University premises unless they gave a written undertaking that they would not stage protests.
“Despite having valid ID cards, we were stopped at the gate,” said a student, whose version was corroborated by a professor.
Professors of the university and educationists have decried this move of the University management, calling it a form of ‘arm-twisting’.
“If the students are only suspended and not dismissed, they still have the right to use other facilities of the university like the library, for which they pay,” said educationist Prince Gajendra Babu.
“Students have the right to protest. A number of facilities at the university, like drinking water, are poor. How can they bring it to the notice of the top management if not by protest,” wondered a professor.
This action of the university follows an order asking students of the department to vacate their hostel rooms on Wednesday. This left a number of North-East and foreign students worried about their accommodation. Under pressure, around 15 of them even signed the undertaking, some of the students said.
However, the order was revoked late on Wednesday evening which came as a relief to the students, some of whom had already begun scouting for alterative, yet costly accommodation in the city.
Responding to these allegations, Jawahar said, “The temporary ban on entering the campus was to prevent the university premises from becoming a meeting point to influence others. We don’t want to take away the students rights,” he said.
It is learnt that the suspended students have decided to seek legal recourse. “Our democratic rights have been denied and we shall be approaching the Madras High Court on Monday seeking a stay on the order,” a student told Express.