Monday, 30th October 2017

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Academics protest TISS closure over hostel push

TISS students were on strike demanding hostel facilities on the campus for students from socially marginalised sections

  • Published 18.07.19, 2:57 AM
  • Updated 18.07.19, 2:57 AM
  • a min read
TISS, Hyderabad

Well-known academics on Wednesday joined over a thousand researchers and other citizens in protesting a decision taken by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad, to close the institute indefinitely following a strike by students demanding hostel accommodation for their peers from underprivileged backgrounds.

Academics like Partha Chatterjee, professor at Columbia University; Prabhat Patnaik, emeritus professor, JNU; Jayati Ghosh, faculty member at JNU; and citizens like Radhika Vemula, mother of Rohith Vemula, the Dalit scholar who committed suicide in 2016 following his suspension from the hostel in Hyderabad University, issued a statement demanding revocation of the decision.

“We the undersigned would like to express our anger and dismay at the sine die closure of TISS, Hyderabad. These are the third round of protests on the question of access and availability of hostel facilities for Dalit and tribal students. It is worrying that instead of engaging with the... question of diversity and inclusivity in academic spaces, the TISS administration has chosen to shut down the institute. This is despite the fact that the protests were democratic and peaceful in nature,” the statement signed by nearly 1,300 people said.

The students of TISS, Hyderabad, were on strike last week demanding hostel facilities on the campus for students from socially marginalised sections like the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. On Monday, authorities of TISS, Hyderabad, which has no hostel facilities on the campus for students, announced sine die closure of the institute.

The statement underlined the need for a more inclusive campus at a time the budgetary allocation for education has been declining in terms of ratio to the GDP. The TISS is privately managed but gets grants from the UGC.

“At a time when the state is withdrawing from higher education, it is appalling that an institute which has a long... history of working towards social justice has chosen to absolve itself of the responsibility of providing equitable access to education...,” the statement said.