Students of Presidency University who are affiliated with SFI had launched a week-long protest on Monday after a draft Code of Conduct was proposed by the university. As per the new code of conduct, nobody will be allowed to organise meetings and processions without prior and proper approval from the
concerned authorities of the institute.
Students state that this is the first time such a code of conduct has been implemented. Parents of students will be called by the authorities if they are found in any intimate position on campus, the code of conduct states. Students claimed there are barriers to political discussions, attacks on freedom of expression, disruptions to a normal lifestyle, and intrusive surveillance of campus life. Students are also strictly prohibited from furnishing audio and video clippings of any activity within the campus to media without obtaining prior approval from concerned authorities.
The century-old Presidency University is going to reconsider the proposed code of conduct, which was introduced to maintain discipline on the university campus. No new code of conduct is being issued on campus until the revision.
SFI, the CPI-M’s students’ wing which controls the Students’ Council of the University demands the immediate expunge of certain sections of the ‘Code of Conduct ‘ proposed by the authority. They claim that the code of conduct undermines students’ Right to Protest on Campus, and constitutional rights to Personal Liberty as in Article 19(1) and Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
Speaking to News18.com, SFI President Anandarupa said, “Bringing down the issue of Surveillance and crackdown on student politics to only “physical intimacy” is very individualistic. We want to make it clear that we are not just against imposing and infringing personal liberty, but we are also vehemently against the tendency of using a code of conduct to curb down organising of students. The Authority is doing all these because it is extremely scared of one thing – organising students. It is therefore using all such tactics like surveillance, and code of conduct to maintain an environment of fear towards student politics,”
After continuous agitation, SFI submitted a deputation to the university authorities on Monday. In addition to their demands in the deputation, they submitted documents containing the opinions of numerous former and current students and researchers of the university to the university authorities.
SFI Presidency Unit Editor Rishabh Saha said, “We are not at all in favor of changing the Code of Conduct, we have no objection to this Code of Conduct in many academic matters including taking exams, but certain points of this Code of Conduct will destroy the tradition of this university. The university cannot decide what slogans will be given by the students if they engage in politics. For the sake of decency, making love on university campuses is being objected to. We have submitted a deputation regarding this code of conduct interfering with the personal freedom of a student in college life. “
After submitting the deputation, a statement was issued by the SFI that said, “Dean of Students spoke about the review committee in the morning. The authority finally backed down under the pressure of continuous agitation by the SFI Presidency University Unit. They have stated in writing that the Code of Conduct is not being implemented with any new rules. A code of Conduct/Student Manual will be prepared for NAAC to consolidate the old rules. But no new social rules, nothing will be imposed.”