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You are freeloader, not students: JNUSU slams V-C Santishree Pandit

In an open letter to the VC, the union accused her of 'conveniently' ignoring the 'lavish perks enjoyed by certain politically favoured groups on campus' and said she was a 'freeloader,' and not the students.
Last Updated : 23 April 2024, 13:24 IST
Last Updated : 23 April 2024, 13:24 IST

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New Delhi: The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) has hit out at Vice-Chancellor Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit over her 'freeloaders on campus' remark and accused her of failing to address "slanderous narratives" of certain films targeting the varsity.

In an open letter to the VC, the union accused her of "conveniently" ignoring the "lavish perks enjoyed by certain politically favoured groups on campus" and said she was a "freeloader", and not the students.

"Who's the real freeloader here? Is it the students and faculty striving for academic excellence, or perhaps it is you who is occupying the VC's office, earning a salary from the taxpayers' dime while failing to fulfil your responsibilities to the university community?" the open letter released Monday late night read.

Pandit in an interview with PTI had said the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has a problem of "freeloaders" -- both overstaying students and illegal guests -- and the administration is now tightening the noose on them.

The vice-chancellor had also said that with the appearance of rival political outfits, the Left dispensation in the Jawaharlal Nehru University has weakened and is forced to join hands since it struggles to win elections independently.

The JNUSU urged the VC to introspect and reconsider her statement on the characterisation of students as 'freeloaders'.

The union also accused Pandit of favouritism and allowing RSS-backed events on campus.

"It is concerning that while you accuse students of being freeloaders, RSS-affiliated events enjoy unrestricted access to campus facilities, including classrooms, auditoriums, convention centre, lawns without so much as a penny exchanged. This double standard is glaring, especially when students have to protest merely to access basic resources, only to get issued proctorial notices," the letter read.

"Our VC proudly claims to be an alumni of JNU, and she finds no shame in speaking to the media about certain 'freeloaders' in the campus who are wasting taxpayer's money. She conveniently ignores the lavish perks enjoyed by certain politically favoured groups on campus," the union retorted.

"The taxpayers' money should indeed be utilised for education and research, not for propagating ideological agendas under the guise of academic activities," it added.

The JNUSU further accused Pandit of recruiting substandard faculty and asserted, "We are not freeloaders. You are wasting taxpayers' money by recruiting substandard faculty and not ensuring a conducive environment for us (students) to study."

It also criticised Pandit for being "silent" on defamatory films targeting JNU students such as Bastar and Jahangir National University which allegedly show the varsity in negative light.

"It is shameful that you, being an alumni of this university yourself, have allowed the screening of Bastar on campus; a film that openly calls for killing JNU students in full public sight. These films not only misrepresent our community but also perpetuate harmful stereotypes and prejudices. As the custodian of our university's reputation, you have failed to address such slanderous narratives," the students' body said in the letter.

Responding to Pandit's remark on weakening of Left politics on campus, the students' body, the union said, "Your role as VC should transcend partisan interests and prioritise the welfare of all students, regardless of their affiliations. However, you are quick to comment and make statements when your beloved ABVP faces electoral setbacks."

The JNUSU is jointly held by Left groups and Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students' Association (BAPSA).

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Published 23 April 2024, 13:24 IST

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