Rohith Vemula's death: Mumbai colleges unaware of committee to deal with reserved category students

After Rohith Vemula’s death, University Grants Commission has asked affiliated universities and colleges to send information about status of reservation students' cell on campuses. While the information that the UGC has sought for ranges from information about the committee's existence, activities conducted by it to ensure there is no caste-based discrimination on campus, how many complaints has it received and what is the status of these complaints among all. However, city colleges and students remain unaware if existence of any such body on campuses.

These committees, which the UGC has asked colleges to form almost decade ago, are still seen missing from many higher education institutions. While some big city colleges have the cells, but they are restricted to only looking after scholarships and other documentation work of reserved category students. There are colleges who are not aware that these committees are to look after reserved category students on campuses and appropriate authority to handle their complaints. In many, colleges these committees do not even exist.

Principal of renowned city college told mid-day, "We do have the cell and there are professors and non-teaching staff associated with it. Many times students coming from reserved category do not have appropriate guidance in terms of higher education. Moreover, there is much clerical work associated with applications of scholarships given to reserved category students. So it is good to have dedicated people working towards it so that the government work is done."
Another principal from a suburban college was not aware that such committee is required to function on campus. "I have seen the UGC guideline. We have now prepared a committee," informed the principal.

Ashish Gade, Mumbai President of the Republican Vidyarthi Sena, told mid-day, "Most of the colleges in city do not have these committees, forget about awareness among students about existence of such bodies for their welfare. If we receive any complaint from a student, we demand information from the college under Right To Information (RTI) after which colleges prepare these committees to show the answer. But they remain on paper."

He continued, "Students on the other hand students are completely unaware of these committees. It appears to be just an eyewash from UGC after the entire incident as students continue to face problems on campuses."

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