FYUP referendum: A resounding NO by 91% students
The AISA referendum in Delhi University colleges received a tremendous response with 91 per cent students voting with a ‘no’ to the Four Years Undergraduate Programme
Souzeina Mushtaq Delhi
In what is termed as an “historic and path-breaking” event, the referendum conducted by the All India Students Association (AISA) on Thursday, August 22, in around 20 Delhi University colleges, received a tremendous response from the students and teachers, with 91 per cent students voting with a ‘no’ to the Four Years Undergraduate Programme (FYUP), which, students said, is being pushed down their throat by an autocratic vice chancellor who simply refuses to listen.
An overwhelming 11,556 votes were counted in open air outside the University Plaza neat the Arts Faculty at Delhi University (DU) which were collected in 26 ballot boxes. 10,519 students voted against the Four Year Programme, while 936 voters supported the programme, and 101 votes were declared invalid. Teachers including Naveen Gaur, Mukul Manglik, Arjuman Ara, Amitav Chakraborty and Rajeev Kumar, among others, remained as observers through the process of voting and counting.
“The results are overwhelming, despite the hurdles by the DU administration and police intimidation. It shows the strength, commitment and resilience of students, who came out to vote despite all odds,” said Sandeep Singh, president, AISA, and former president, JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU).
At a meeting with teachers, the DU VC declared that there could be “no further discussion on FYUP” and that “'the damage has been done, and nothing can be done about it now”
“We congratulate students for articulating their opinions. It is a historic moment for all of us,” said Prerna, a researcher at DU.
The voting started at around 9 am in majority of the DU affiliated colleges, and at 8:30 am in some colleges. The ballot boxes were installed outside college campuses. While the referendum was going well and peacefully with students voting before attending their classes, suddenly some muscle-flexing cops turned out to disrupt the voting process.
“The SHO of Maurice Nagar Police Station tried to snatch ballot boxes by force at several North Campus colleges where the FYUP referendum was underway. Students managed to safeguard ballot boxes and take them to safe locations under observation,” said Prerna. She said principals of some colleges also snatched ballot boxes, saying voting was not permissible. When asked if this referendum is really going to change the status quo, Prerna said it would make the authorities accountable. Other students said the referendum has exposed the arrogant and authoritarian tactics of the vice chancellor and his loyalists.
Congratulating students for this “unique idea”, Dr Arjuman Ara of the Urdu Department, DU, said, “Students have managed to put across their opinion through an innovative and democratic process. Even if this referendum does not change the mindset of the authorities or policy makers, it surely has shown the strength of students in opinion making. They have realized that FYUP is a wastage of time which has deprived the poor strata of the society good and quality education.”