SPPU students protest while the administration rests
Students from various courses have come together to join hands against the fee hike.
Members of the Students’ Struggle Action Committee of Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) started re-protesting against the fees hike of various courses offered at the University within three months from the last one on Tuesday at 11 am in front of the Main Building. The students demand an explanation from the administration although Sanjeev Sonawane, Pro-Vice Chancellor of SPPU calls these demands unjustifiable.
“We protested last time on 11th July for the same issue, that is to cut back the increased fee. They (SPPU) had assured us back then that they’ll work on it and will meet our demands. But they’re back to square one with the same hike in the fees with the new admissions. The University when discussed told us that they’ve increased the fees by 31.25% but the data we have shown that the increase is 75%-150% and they did not explain this difference giving excuses of different categorised fees such as Service fees, Tuition fees, etc.” said Akshay Nirmal, Vice-President, Student Federation of India, Pune.
The students from various courses have come together to join hands against the fee hike and hostel room allotment decision. SPPU admits students from various classes, backgrounds and different regions of the country. Many students join the university on the basis of scholarships offered. Such students that could not afford the expenses and the rise in fees either have to drop out or borrow resulting in the loss of education/studies.
“We need an explanation on what basis they increased the fees. We understand a basic raise i.e., 15%-20% but 31%-32% becomes too much for financially weaker students who account for the majority. They also started charging fees for student activities from last year, which was Rs.500, this year they took Rs.1000 for Magazines, Id-cards, tutorials, or gatherings” added Nirmal.
Talking about Hostels, students said we’re ready to adjust 3 people in a room but the university doesn’t permit us making it unfair to them. Non-grant students are added to the grant-course students’ seats leaving the former with no hostel rooms. This is why the students of the Struggle Action Committee demand immediate allotment to PG and Ph.D. students.
“Hostel fees that were previously Rs.1200, are now increased to Rs.3000. And back then they took it according to the semesters but currently they charge around Rs.5,860 for the whole year in a single installment” added another student and member of SFI, Pune.
Reacting to this protest, “The students’ demands last time were fulfilled and taken action on, as they were valid and reasonable enough. But this time, the government has approved this raise in fees as we also need to pay the professors from various colleges and faculties. The students who’re complaining about the allotment of hostel rooms don’t understand that we also need to look after the hostel’s maintenance, electricity bills, cleanliness, etc” said Sanjeev Sonawane, Pro-Vice Chancellor, SPPU
The students alleged that the Vice Chancellor does not really know much about all this as he has recently joined. But the officials that are already working and know our demands and requirements also do not consider giving us a brief explanation or solution for that matter.
Post-covid, SPPU recently announced its academic calendar giving semesters less time than expected with the intention of restoring the academics back but with the rise in PG and Ph.D. courses giving students second thoughts about their decision of studying further.
Calling the students’ demands unreasonable and unjustified Sonawane also added, “The Colleges have given representations about the salaries of faculties at different institutions and the activities that are funded by the University. Considering this we’ve made the changes. So, if the students feel like protesting, let them. We can’t really fulfill each demand.”