While student elections were the most debated aspect of the newly enacted Maharashtra Public Universities Act, and there were apprehensions about their return to the state due to fear of campus violence, at least for this year, authorities can put such concerns to rest.
Now, the state has finally paved the way for student representation in the university, but this year, student leaders would once again be nominated, not elected.
Authorities of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) have initiated the process to include students in the representative bodies by setting the deadline for formation of student councils in affiliated colleges and university departments.
A couple of weeks ago, the state government issued an ordinance, bringing changes in the MU Act so that the universities follow the process of nomination for forming student councils, from which members will be chosen for representation on statutory bodies.
This came as a relief to academicians and college authorities, because though the new Act made provisions for the return of student elections, college principals and even university administration were wary about the possibility of violence linked to the polls.
The SPPU vice-chancellor had even admitted that the university planned to seek help from the Election Commission and police for conducting student elections. While it was expected that the state government would soon pass the statutes about how student elections should be conducted, for this year, the state has passed an ordinance for nominations.
“For this year, we would be going back to the old procedure of nominations. The state has specified how colleges and departments are to institute the student council body, which we will follow,” said Arvind Shaligram, registrar of SPPU.
According to the directive issued to affiliated colleges and institutions as well as university departments, they have to establish a student council by January 4. The student council of colleges will be headed by the college principal and have one lecturer nominated by the principal as a member, besides the professor in charge of both National Cadet Corps (NCC) and National Service Scheme (NSS), one student from each class who did well in academics and had regular attendance, one student each with a record of good performance in sports, culture, NSS and NCC, the director of sports and physical education, and two woman students nominated by the principal and a similar committee is to be appointed at the university department level.
“… From the 600-700 names that the vice-chancellor will receive, he will nominate a 15-person committee, which will serve as the student council board at university level. From this committee, two students will be chosen for representation on Senate and other statutory bodies,” said Prabhakar Desai, director of the Student Welfare Board of the SPPU.