Concerns Over Suspension Of Lectures And Seminars At TISS, Students Demand Clarity

Concerns Over Suspension Of Lectures And Seminars At TISS, Students Demand Clarity

TISS has prohibited organising guest lectures until guidelines are framed, which the students allege is an infringement of their rights, but the institute defends its stand. Learn more.

Sunidhi VijayUpdated: Friday, March 15, 2024, 02:50 PM IST
article-image
TISS | File

Students of Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) have been concerned over the ongoing suspension of lectures, seminars, etc., on the campus following a notice issued by the institution in January.

On Jan 18, TISS released a notice forbidding students from organising any events until further guidelines were issued by the institute.

“In order to facilitate an inclusive participatory environment, all dialogues and debates on the campus, the competent authority has decided to reframe the existing guidelines for events, seminars, lectures series and screening of audio-visual materials among others. Until then, all such activities and events are suspended,” the notice read.

A student told The Free Press Journal (FPJ), on the condition of anonymity, that even after two months, there has been no sign of any fresh guidelines issued by the institute. This automatically translates to the fact that the students and faculties will not be permitted to hold any kind of guest lectures or plan any academic activity in the college, the student alleged. Only cultural events, like cultural fests, sports fests and literary fests are allowed.

“The institute has refused permission for any sort of academic guest lectures. Critical lectures are also completely stopped, even those which do not have a direct connection with the government,” the student told the FPJ. 

“Recently, a guest lecture on the Bhagat Singh memorial was also stopped by the institute. The institute is turning more into an authoritarian regime,” he alleged. 

He further added, “The event, ‘Mosaic’ which is organised by students from North East was permitted to hold only cultural events within the event, while no permission was given for the academic event. Another lecture which was denied was one on Birsa Munda.”

Some students also alleged that the lecture by advocate Abhinav Chandrachud was held in a closed room, only for the students of the law department which earlier was open to all. 

When students discussed the situation with the TISS management, they were allegedly told that the institute did not want anything against the state. 

“We even told them that we would not organise anything against the state, but there was no response. They keep telling us that the guidelines are still being drafted,” another student alleged.

Official response

An official from the TISS management told FPJ, on the condition of anonymity, that the students do not provide full information about the lectures. “The students organise a lecture on Bhagat Singh but invite a leftist person who only speaks about freedom adhering to the current trends. If the students share with us the exact topic and details then we may even allow it,” the TISS official told the FPJ, while giving reference to the IIT Bombay’s lecture on Israel-Palestine that received much flak. He also added that these lectures reflect one viewpoint and therefore hold no meaning. 

“Students should concentrate on their studies. There are many other things to concentrate on other than guest lectures. Also, a larger section of students seems to have no problem, it is only a small fraction of students, who are actually activists, are associated with these things,” the official alleged.

The official further commented that the guidelines will surely be released, but not on the students' whims and demands. “We are not here to address the small fraction of students who are clearly operating with a certain nexus. They only spoil the image of our institute. They are not authorised to talk about these things and should directly talk to the authorities if they want to say something.” 

He further added that the institute has many other works other than releasing guidelines. 

The official continued saying, “We are inviting JNU’s (Jawaharlal Nehru University) VC and five other persons for a guest lecture on Apr 14, is that not a guest lecture?”

Students are also allegedly questioned by the institute before conducting any event to ensure that nothing is against the government, and even small events are scrutinised. 

“We are told that if something happens, then who will take responsibility for it?”, the student who spoke earlier said. “There is no freedom of speech on the campus right now. We are always under surveillance,” he alleged.

RECENT STORIES

Mulund: Autorickshaw Driver's Son Scores 100 Percentile In MHT CET, Dreams Of Aerospace Research...

Mulund: Autorickshaw Driver's Son Scores 100 Percentile In MHT CET, Dreams Of Aerospace Research...

Sanmay Shah Scores Perfect 100 Percentile In MHT CET 2024

Sanmay Shah Scores Perfect 100 Percentile In MHT CET 2024

“YouTube Is A Distraction”: Dombivali’s Pushkar Byadgi Scores 100 Percentile In PCM At MHT CET...

“YouTube Is A Distraction”: Dombivali’s Pushkar Byadgi Scores 100 Percentile In PCM At MHT CET...

MHT CET 2024 Results Declared: 37 Candidates Score A Perfect 100

MHT CET 2024 Results Declared: 37 Candidates Score A Perfect 100

MHT CET 2024 Result Website Faces Technical Glitch

MHT CET 2024 Result Website Faces Technical Glitch