NLSIU students adamant on fee hike rollback

Angered by a substantial hike in college fees, the student body at the National Law School of India University Bengaluru protest to withdraw the increases on Saturday. NLSIU has hiked the fee by 25%. | DH Photo/Pushkar V

Students of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU) on Saturday morning protested against the 25% fee hike announced by the university.

Around 560 law students mounted the silent protest in the presence of an executive council made up of the top brass of university, including several supreme court judges.

The students hoped to compel the council, which takes decisions for the university, to reverse the fee hike and address what some senior students describe as a growing mental health crisis on campus.

By evening, however, the students had returned to their dorms and homes, crestfallen.

“We were seriously expecting the council to give us something. But that did not happen,” said a student leader, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Another senior student elaborated: “Our requests for academic reforms were deemed out of the question. Instead, they lambasted our protest as unbecoming of law students,” he said, adding however, that the administration would convene an Academic Council meeting to approve “stalled amendments such as removal of attendance marks and delinking project marks — and reconsidering the promotion policy accounting for student suggestions.”

Another area where the executive council had slightly relented involved the matter of students on financial aid or scholarships. “They promised to ensure that these students will receive aid to cover the increases in tuition fee.”

For the bulk of the student body, however, this is not enough. In a letter, student leaders called on their peers not to “lose hope.”

“We have indicated to the Executive Council that we will not pay the fee till a concrete plan is chalked out. Please don’t lose hope...Request all of you to not pay the fee till the issue is resolved,” the message read. The last day for paying the fee is July 15. When asked what would happen if the administration did not roll back the fee on that date, a student leader said that they would go to the courts if necessary.

When contacted, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Dr Venkata Rao, claimed that he had a family emergency to attend and was ignorant about events. He referred the matter to the registrar who could not be reached.

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