Students of Ashoka University have announced a two-day boycott of classes from Monday in protest against some recent developments at the institution, including the resignations of faculty members Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Arvind Subramanian. The Ashoka University Student Government, a student body, also said on Saturday it will be organising a separate movement demanding the resignation of the Vice-Chancellor.
The university in Haryana's Sonipat became the centre of a controversy earlier this week, when political commentator Mehta, who had resigned as its vice chancellor two years back, chose to step down as professor, saying that the founders made it "abundantly clear" that his association with the institution was a "political liability". Arvind Subramanian, the former chief economic advisor to the government, had resigned from the university two days later in solidarity with Mehta.
The demands of the protesting students include a public acknowledgement by the university founders on Mehta's statement that he felt that he was a "political liability" as well as assuring the Ashokan Community that Mehta will be given a unconditional offer letter. The students are also demanding an open meeting organised by the founders with the student body, the divesting of administrative powers and roles from founders of the university to the elected representatives of faculty, students and administration.
"We are extremely saddened by the resignations of both professors and incredibly dissatisfied by the conditions under which the resignations took place. Not only have we lost intellectual giants and erudite academics whose scholarship we value deeply, but also our trust and faith in this administration to protect the students within this university from external political pressures. This is a gross violation of academic freedoms and we strongly condemn it," the students' body said in a statement. "We will not back down in the face of injustice. We will continue our struggle for a more just and equal institution and for true academic freedom at Ashoka and beyond," it added.