In the wake of admission season at Delhi University, the contentions around accommodation of out-station students have witnessed an inevitable gear up. Pinjra Tod, a women’s collective of students seeking reservations and restriction-free stay of women in hostels and PGs has once again stepped in to support the hostellers at Lady Shri Ram College for Women.
On Wednesday, June 19, 2019, Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University, sanctioned a rule to make space for the college hostel of the first year students by vacating the seats occupied by the seniors – the second and the third year students of the college.
The decision has met with immense dissatisfaction of the Hostel Union who is protesting against the authorities.The major complaints and demands of the students from the college administration are as follows-
- The college’s decision to add constitutional reservations for OBC, SC/ST and PWD students and make the accommodation of new students from far off places convenient is appreciable. However, as a consequence of it, forcing the seniors to vacate the preoccupied seats to make space is unacceptable and is simply the undoing of what the college intends to do in the first place. College hostels are convenient for its proximity to the college and for avoiding the high rates of PGs outside the college campus. If the college acts on the decision, a number of students will be “homeless”, looking for PGs and being targeted as money minting machines. The over-crowded PGs in the proximity of the college, in addition to their high rates, might force few students to eventually forfeit their seat in the college.
- If the college aims at providing safe, homely and convenient stay to the students from far off places, the seniors it is forcing to move out are out-station students as well and have the same right to hostel seats as much as the first-years. The students protesting in LSR assert that it is the college’s responsibility to sanction rules and decisions that are feasible for all. It should improve the hostel infrastructure and increase seats to accommodate the first year students without vacating and exploiting the rights of the seniors.
Besides, the LSR Hostel Union also maintains that the presence of seniors in the college is important for an easier and good quality experience in the college. The seniors provide support and guidance to the first-year students as they help first year students to become active and aware.
“ LSR makes a joke out of inclusivity and reservation, punishes students for protesting: let’s have only first-years to oppress conveniently.” said Pinjra Tod in a Facebook Post.
According to a report in The Hindu, Lady Shri Ram College Principal Suman Sharma has defended the decision by calling it an ”affirmative action”. In response to the student’s protest, she said that the college has written to the University Grants Commission to increase seats. In the defence of the decision, she has also referred to the last year’s protest of the students with Pinjra Tod where the demands were providing OBC seats in the hostel and removing restrictions like curfew timings.
“We reject the administration’s instrumentalization of OBC reservation as a justification for converting the entire hostel into a first year hostel is not only absurd but also a calculated attempt to polarize the student body’s sentiment along already existing fissures in society- by falsely counterposing affirmative action and access to education for all” said Pinjra Tod in a Facebook Post.