Students of Galgotias University protest over being coerced to pay fee for next academic session amid COVID-19 Lockdown

Galgotias University
Galgotias University

Adding to lockdown woes, students of the Galgotias University, Noida have registered their grievance over the pressure exerted by the University administration to pay fees for the next academic session. It is claimed that the payment of fees is a pre-condition for being allowed the write examinations conducted in relation to the preceding session.

Students told Bar & Bench that they were asked to clear all dues, including the fee for the next academic session, before they would be allowed to write exams in relation to the preceding semester.

Repeated requests for some form of relief in fee payment, in view of financial difficulties that may be faced by students amid the COVID-19 lockdown, have fallen on deaf years, student sources indicate.

Apart from the Rs 1.1 lakh fee for the next academic session (for integrated LL.B. students), a divide examination fee of Rs 2,300 each per subject was also prescribed for exams conducted this month.

This, despite a Rs 10,000 fee having been paid earlier under the head of examination fee at the beginning of the academic session, the students informed.

Why should we give fees again for exams? That too, in the lockdown period”, a student source pointed out.

Many students were unable to write online improvement examinations recently conducted. However, there is no indication as of yet that the University has given any thought to the concerns raised by the students, a student said.

A revised academic calendar dated May 7, issued by the University, highlighted that “No dues shall be mandatory for registration of all examinations as notified.

Extract of the May 7 notification
Extract of the May 7 notification

Following this notification, multiple students had tried to reach out to the University administration through emails and WhatsApp messages seeking some form of relief, including pleas for extending the last date for payment.

However, students say that the University has remained apathetic to their grievances.

The Vice-Chancellor doesn’t reply to our emails”, says a student. “They are conducting webinars, they are conducting events, but they do not have time to reply to our mails. This is the disheartening part of the University, frankly.”

Another concern that has arisen amid the conduct of online exams during the lockdown has to do with a guideline issued by the University for the conduct of midterm exams this month, which stated,

University shall not be responsible for any system failure/power break up/interruption of internet at the students end.”

However, students are apprehensive of how the University would respond when their grievances are aired publicly, given that others have been rusticated earlier over such issues.

The students had reached out to the University Grants Commission (UGC) over these issues earlier this month. The UGC authorities forwarded the complaint to the University administration and directed them to respond at the earliest.

When contacted by Bar & Bench, Vice-Chancellor Preeti Bajaj declined to comment on the issue.

Earlier, it was reported that the National Students' Union of India wrote to the Uttar Pradesh government after the University emailed the students that their admission would stand cancelled if the fee for the present semester is not submitted by April 7.

After initially denying the allegation in response to queries by IANS, the Vice-Chancellor was eventually stated to have said that it was an auto generated email and that the same would be checked.

In the meanwhile, the University is due to start conducting online classes for debarred students from June 1 onwards. However, these classes are also only available to those who clear all the dues prescribed by the University, Bar & Bench was told.

Even as these events unfold, the UGC issued a notification last week addressed to all Universities, urging that they consider the matter of annual fee payment sympathetically, and if feasible, offer alternative payment options until the situation returns to normal.

The notification had added,

If need be, the universities and colleges may also consider individual requests from students, received if any, concerning payment of fee, in a considerate manner, keeping in view the present COVID-19 pandemic."

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