Never in its 200-year history has Presidency seen such a dismal convocation - neither as a college nor as a university. Locked out by students, the vice chancellor was forced to hold the prestigious event at a small state-run cinema hall and she could not hide her anger.
"It was anarchy. I want to tell the students: don't be anarchists, be students," Dr Anuradha Lohia told NDTV. At the convocation, she began her address with, "I am very sad that the convocation has to be held in such a small place."
Not a single student was present at the convocation. Not even the 750 who were to get their degrees. The two eminent people awarded DLitts were taken aback.
Actor Soumitra Chatterjee said, "They should be level headed and sit down with teachers and vice chancellor who is so rational to find out a ratiinal solution to their problem."
Bharat Ratna scientist Dr CNR Rao, said, "I don't believe in friction... We should get along. Otherwise there is no future for us. If you make every small issue a big issue, you don't have time for the real ones."
Trouble was brewing for weeks but erupted Monday. Students locked the vice chancellor out for failing to get the hostel repaired in the last three years and forcing them to live at an alternative location 15 km away.
Students want to stay at the iconic Eden Hindu Hostel that had legendary boarders like Dr Rajendra Prasad and Dr Amartya Sen and that is very close to Presidency.
Anisur, a student, claimed the vice chancellor has twisted things to suit her purposes. "What the authority is doing is totally wrong and what the authority is propagating is totally wrong," he said.
"There is no link between the convocation and or hostel protest but the authorities are linking the two things and making us look bad."
Rimjhim Sinha, who was a 'convocatee' and looking forward to getting her degree said, "We are one community. As much as we want the Hindu hostel boarders to get the Hindu hostel, we would also want degrees to be in our hands by tonight.
The dismal convocation however could be a symptom of a deeper malaise, say students, alumni and even some teachers. Other symptoms include sporadic unrest on campus, a high attrition rate of teachers and the unprecedented fact that seats at Presidency University are going vacant these days.
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