Drama students of Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya went berserk on the premises of the college on Wednesday demanding the resignation of the principal and a guest faculty. They vandalised the college property and locked all the faculty members and the principal inside the campus for over five hours. As students broke the glass panes at the main entrance of the college, one of the faculty members sustained head injuries.
Alleging that a guest faculty of the drama department was not taking classes regularly and misbehaving with the students, they said although they had informed Principal Tamasarani Dasmohapatra about it, she took no action.
The students have been agitating over the issue for the last four days and had submitted a complaint against the guest faculty to the Principal on Monday. They had also met Culture Department Director Sushil Kumar Das on Tuesday. Their agitation took an ugly turn after Das refused to pay heed to their demand.
“The faculty member in question has been with this college for one year now. He has not been taking classes regularly as a result of which course is not completed on time. When we protested, he misbehaved with us,” alleged Akshay Nayak, a first year student of drama department.
The drama department currently has four guest faculties and one permanent teacher. The agitating students also demanded appointment of permanent faculty for their department.
In the commotion, classes of other departments had to be cancelled. Later, the students of other departments and faculty members protested the vandalism and staged a dharna on the campus demanding action against the drama students. They alleged that the drama students were creating law and order situation on the campus frequently.
Principal Dasmohapatra said as it is a Government-run institution, no step can be taken overnight, including removing any of the faculty members. “We have apprised the Culture Department about the grievances of the students which will take necessary measures,” she said.
The agitations were called off in the evening after the Culture department officials assured to take steps.
The four-decade-old Mahavidyalaya, the State’s premier college of performing arts and Asia’s oldest institute of its kind, will turn 50 next year. For the last three years, it has been in the limelight for all the wrong reasons. Last year, the students of the college had boycotted classes for over a week demanding permanent faculty members.