Less than a day after the Scottish Church College suspended admission to its undergraduate courses, state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee’s intervention appears to have settled the ongoing dispute between the administration and the students’ union with the resumption of admission procedure Wednesday.
Chatterjee, who on Tuesday said the admission must resume at the earliest, spoke to college rector John Abraham late night following which the suspension was lifted Wednesday morning.
The minister has also reportedly spoken to the protesting students, asking the union to “tone down” the language of protest.
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“We received a call from the education minister who asked us to tone down our protest slogans and said he would meet us tomorrow (Thursday) at 1 pm at Bikas Bhavan to discuss our issues,” said Shubhashlok Dwivedi, president, Scottish Church College Students’ Union, which came out in revolt against the college’s diktat on dress code for its students, and didn’t back down when the college changed its compulsory stand on dress code to “an advisory for parents” the next day.
The minister’s intervention, however, resulted in the students not turning up for protests on Wednesday, although the union president said most couldn’t come because of “health issues”.
“It is true that most of them did not come today,” Dwivedi said, but claimed that “some of the teachers too have joined us in our protest”.
Before speaking to the students, Chatterjee rang up the college rector and instructed him to lift the suspension on the admission procedure which was due to start on Tuesday.
Rector Abraham, speaking to The Indian Express, informed that the college has “decided to resume the admission procedure” for now. “After the first phase (of admission), I would also like to hold a meeting with the students and listen to their demands, if the students are willing to. If their demands are sensible, the college will consider implementing them,” Abraham said.
Besides protesting against the college’s decree on dress code, the students have since added to their list of demand “the resignation of the rector who has been indulging in massive financial irregularities, rollback of the fee hike, and introduction of a sports quota”.
“If our demands are met, we will call off our protest. But if there is no positive response from the education minister, we will wait for a few days and then resume our movement,” Dwivedi said.