SPARSH committee: EFLU students continue stir

This demonstration, which started late on Monday, continued on Tuesday, with students also opting to boycott their classes.
EFLU students stage a protest at the campus on Tuesday
EFLU students stage a protest at the campus on Tuesday

HYDERABAD: Demanding the reconstitution of the Sensitisation, Prevention and Redressal of Sexual Harassment (SPARSH) committee, students at the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) are staging a protest on the campus. This demonstration, which started late on Monday, continued on Tuesday, with students also opting to boycott their classes.

Approximately 300 students initiated the protest, comprising representatives from student organisations apart from other students. A second-year MA student told TNIE that a student’s collective, comprising 50-60 students, has been holding meetings over the past 1-2 months to address various issues within the university.

The students assert that the SPARSH committee, established in accordance with an EFLU rule to address matters related to the Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment Act of 2013, has been inactive since June. Their primary concerns revolve around the fact that the committee’s members have not been disclosed, and the guidelines prescribed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) for its formation have not been adhered to.

Despite making multiple attempts to engage with the administration and submitting petitions, the students have not received clear responses, they said. Moreover, the individual designated as the chairperson of the SPARSH committee has denied holding that role.

Late on Monday, administrative officials held discussions with the students. While the demand to reconstitute the committee was approved, no specific date for its reformation was provided. The administration pledged to issue a circular the following morning, on October 17, but no such communication was received. Consequently, the students have resolved to continue with their protest until the administration acknowledges their demands in writing.

Danger of disciplinary action

As part of their admission process, students at EFLU are required to sign Annexure 5, a document that includes a commitment not to engage in protests or demonstrations. It explicitly states that students must refrain from any form of indiscipline or misconduct that could lead to disciplinary actions.In the event that a student violates any of the university’s guidelines, the institution reserves the exclusive right to impose consequences such as expulsion or rustication.

The students currently participating in the protest are understandably apprehensive about potential repercussions. However, they are participating collectively, believing that the administration may find it challenging to take action against individual students as they stand united in their demonstration.

‘Include 1 queer student in panel’

  • Swift organisation of democratic elections for selecting three student representatives
  • The SPARSH election should be held before or concurrently with the student union elections slated for next month.
  • Allocation of one seat for an LGBTQIA+ student, one seat for a female student and one open seat

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