The Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University and other executive council members were allowed to leave the varsity late last night, following a 30-hour gherao by a section of a students' union in protest against the move to scrap admission tests for six humanities subjects. "We allowed the VC and other EC members to leave at around 11.45 pm yesterday, but our sit-in before Aurobindo Bhavan, the main administrative building, will continue till the EC withdraws its decision to scrap the entrance tests," AFSU chairperson Somashree Choudhury told PTI today.
She, however, said AFSU will not obstruct the movement of anyone. Choudhury said that AFSU and other student organisations in the varsity have called for a class boycott today to press for their demands. "We had told the VC last night that we can take any drastic step after 24 hours, if the authorities did not re-introduce the admission tests, and announce a decision at the earliest. "We have the moral support of the Jadavpur University Teachers' Association (JUTA) members and the non-teaching staff on the issue," she said.
The VC left the campus along with other senior varsity officials including the Registrar and Pro-VC, a JUTA spokesman said. He said JUTA was observing a ceasework in the university today, taking exception to the EC decision to admit students to six humanities streams based on marks obtained in the board examinations. "We are also participating in a three-hour sit-in demonstration before Aurobindo Bhavan today to voice our protest against this move, which may lower the academic standard of the JU arts faculty," the spokesman said.
Das and other executive committee members were gheraoed from 6 pm on July 4 after the EC announced it would admit undergraduate students in English, Comparative Literature, Bengali, History, Political Science and Philosophy only on the basis of marks, reversing its last week decision to hold entrance tests. The VC had yesterday said he failed to understand the reason behind the students' protest. "We have been confined in our offices for over 24 hours by a handful of students, who fail to understand that the decision to scrap the entrance test was taken by majority of the executive council members. I, as the VC, will have to abide by the decision," he had said.
JU Registrar Chiranjib Bhattacharya, after announcing the decision to scrap entrance tests, had told reporters yesterday that the council's move comes in the wake of "displeasure" among a section of teachers over its previous decision to involve external experts in the admission procedure. "There was little possibility of conducting entrance tests after addressing the concerns of our teachers, given the little time we have in hand," Pro-VC Pradip Ghosh said. "In view of the uncertainties faced by thousands of candidates, we decided to go by the marks criterion for this year," Ghosh added.
The English Department has also decided to join in the protest, and said none of the teachers will take part in the admission procedure. Meanwhile, in a notification, the JU announced new admission dates to humanities streams on July 27, 28, 30 and 31.