KOCHI: Clashes between members of rival student groups on the midnight of September 18 left at least one with a fractured arm. Sixteen students of the School of Engineering were suspended for instigating violence on the campus and the university authorities launched an investigation into the incident. One thing that emerged was that many parents were unaware of their wards’ activities on the campus.
“At the School of Engineering (SoE), students come from different financial backgrounds,” an official said on condition of anonymity. “It has come to our notice that parents, especially those belonging to the financially weaker sections, are being taken for a ride by their children. They keep their parents in the dark about their academic activities and political affiliations. Don’t get me wrong, these are bright students and have gained admission to various courses at SoE on merit,” the official said.
University authorities found out how clueless parents were when they were invited for a meeting.
The official said students had even devised plans to avoid university authorities contacting their parents.
“During the admission, they enter their own numbers as parent’s contacts. So, even if we sent messages, parents may never receive them. Some don’t even bother to come despite receiving messages,” said another official.
Some parents are so clueless that they don’t even know in which semester their children are in. “Many parents remain in awe of their wards’ achievements and find themselves replaced in the family hierarchy, with the children making decisions. All these contribute to the downfall of these bright students,” the official said.
According to some students, the situation is not so bad on the main campus. “The skirmishes between the rival groups have become a common feature at SoE. At times these spill over onto the main campus. Even a small issue gets blown out of proportion,” a student said. According to SFI leaders, the presence of anti-social elements on the campus doesn’t help.