Recently, many students and women’s organisations protested against the Lady Shri Ram College and the Government after a young student’s suicide owing to financial constraints. In response to this, LSR college will be now providing facilities to reduce the constraints on students from marginalised backgrounds.
Student unions raised demands to reduce fees and to provide help to those struggling because of the pandemic after Aishwarya, a bright LSR student and IAS aspirant, was found hanging at her home on November 2nd.
She was unable to write exams as her parents were not able to afford a laptop or accommodation, had not received her scholarship from the Government for fees. Aishwarya was a recipient of the Ministry of Science and Technology’s INSPIRE scholarship, but the money she was supposed to receive was delayed. In her suicide note, Aishwarya had mentioned that she did not want to be a burden to her family. Following this, LSR announced fee reduction in select courses, setting up a committee to provide laptops and to allow some second years residence. Students can also pay their fees in installments.
“Given the fact that students are not able to avail certain facilities of the college due to being off-campus, the college has removed such charges from the fees this year. This has led to a substantial reduction in the fee. In addition, it is possible to pay the fee in installments.”
The administration stated that second years students will be allowed to stay on campus on the basis of need after students from the incoming batch and third years are given accommodation. Once the situation normalises and the pandemic recedes, they will also allow more students to stay in the hostels.
Most notably, the college will remove the sentence “will not participate in any activity seeking to prolong my/her tenure at the hostel” as it is often interpreted as barring students from taking part in protests.
Teachers from LSR also raised ₹2.5 lakhs for Aishwarya’s family.
While the student associations and LSR management have taken positive steps to help other students who may be struggling because of financial constraints, the Government has not responded to the issue of scholarships which Aishwarya had highlighted. Like Aishwarya, many students are struggling as fellowships have been redacted and scholarships delayed.
“This is just a recent example of how imperative scholarships are for students. When the government delays the provision of funds to students, it puts them and their families under immense pressure.”
SFI member D Prashant