Degree distress at Presi

Students who had come from faraway places to collect their degree certificates at the convocation of Presidency University on Tuesday were left disappointed as students' protest had forced the programme out of the College Street campus.

By Subhankar Chowdhury
  • Published 12.09.18
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(From left in the top picture) Shatarupa Roy, who came to the city from Gwalior, and Dhrubojyoti Mukherjee and Shouvik Das Naskar, who came from Banaras, for the convocation did not get their degree certificates on Tuesday. (Above) Mosquito nets and clothes lines outside the vice-chancellor’s office at Presidency University. Pictures by Subhankar Chowdhury

College Street: Students who had come from faraway places to collect their degree certificates at the convocation of Presidency University on Tuesday were left disappointed as students' protest had forced the programme out of the College Street campus.

The ceremony, held at Nandan III, was restricted to honorary DSc and honorary DLitt being handed over to scientist C.N.R. Rao and actor Soumitra Chatterjee, respectively.

The degrees could not be awarded to graduates and postgraduates because protesting students on the campus had closed the university's gates on Monday and did not allow the governing board - the highest decision-making body of Presidency - to meet.

"For the degrees to be awarded to the recipients tomorrow, the governing board has to meet today and complete the formalities," registrar Debajyoti Konar had said on Monday.

Vice-chancellor Anuradha Lohia and other teachers and officials were not allowed to enter the campus on Monday.

Shatarupa Roy had come from Gwalior to collect her BSc certificate. She has to submit the document to the School of Studies in Neuroscience in Gwalior, where she is pursuing a master's course, by September 30.

"I have taken provisional admission and have to hand over the certificate to the School of Studies in Neuroscience by September 30. I have no idea when I will get the certificate," Roy said.

Similar is the condition of Dhrubojyoti Mukherjee, who is pursuing MSc in biochemistry at Banaras Hindu University. He, too, has to submit his certificate to BHU by September 30.

"We will face difficulties if we don't get the certificate now," said Mukherjee.

Asked when the certificates would be awarded to the 750 recipients, registrar Konar said: "The protesters, despite repeated requests, did not let us enter the campus and hold the meeting of the governing board. I stood at the gate for one-and-a-half hours. Now, we have to decide when the next meeting can be held. We have to take permission from governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, our chancellor. We want to hand over the certificates to the recipients at the earliest."

The students who blocked the entrance were protesting the delay in repairing Eden Hindu Hostel.

Presidency teachers said the protesters had jeopardised the future of the degree recipients by not allowing the VC and other teachers and officials to enter the campus.

"The students should know where to draw the line. Even at the height of the Hok Kolorob movement in 2014, students of Jadavpur University allowed the convocation to be held on the campus," a teacher of political science at Presidency University said.

The protesters, however, refused to take the blame.

"We had communicated to the authorities around 4pm on Monday that we would not disrupt the convocation. They wanted to hold the convocation outside the campus in an attempt to force us to withdrawing our protest. But our protest will continue," said Anit Baidya, one of the protesters.