Located in Bangalore, Christ University is a private Institute in the state of Karnataka, India. In the India Today-Nielsen survey that was conducted in the year 2016, Christ University was ranked among the top private universities in India. The university offers nationally and internationally recognized undergraduate, postgraduate and research programs in academic disciplines in Humanities, Social Sciences, Sciences, Law, Engineering, Business Administration, Commerce, and Management. It offers professional courses in fields including Business Management, Computer Application, Hotel Management, Mass Communication, Social Work, Engineering, and Tourism. It has a foreign student community of about 600 from 58 nationalities.
Youth Ki Awaaz is a platform where stories are published by users. It has a user - generated content platform. This platform was founded by Anshul Tewari. Raghav Bahl led ed Quintillion Media invested in Youth Ki Awaaz in the year 2015. This platform has received huge recognitions like the "Social media for empowerment" award at the 2013 Manthan South Asia Awards and also the Laadli Media Awards for "gender sensitivity" in the year 2016.
A Student Writes on Youth Ki Awaaz about the Bandhs
Last year, a student at Christ University, Bangalore had submitted a piece of writing on the Youth Ki Awaaz Platform on the 28th of July, 2016. The writing was about how the University had made a decision to call the students for regular classes at college on a day when the city was shut due to a bandh.
“While we understand that there are deadlines and schedules to be followed, from the student’s perspective, it almost seems as though you do not care about our safety,” written bySumedha Biswas, the student from Christ University. She openly criticized and wrote in detail about all the troubles she had to face to reach college in light of the University’s mandatory 85 per cent attendance rule.
Soon, Youth Ki Awaaz started receiving more accounts from the University. Over the next one month, YKA received tens of accounts from not only students but also parents of students at Christ University.
Are the complaints really valid?
From unreasonable evaluation methods to attendance rules, the varsity’s dress code to the dismissal of a professor (and even an alleged case of sexual harassment), students, teachers, and parents used YKA to extensively write about issues they faced at the university. The platform, in fact, received a complaint from Karnataka police against one of the posts, asking us to take down the same. Didn't the students sign up during admissions that they must abide by all the rules? Weren't the students aware of the dress code before the admission?
Find better way to tackle with problems
There were stories that were extremely critical of the university. There were also accounts that really praised the varsity for its good practices. As an objective media platform, Youth Ki Awaaz published all these accounts without prejudice. Which is why, news that the University has blocked access to Youth Ki Awaaz’s website on its server comes as a shock to the platform.
On Saturday, a student from the university wrote to YKA, detailing the varsity’s decision to block the website in light of the many stories submitted by its students and faculty in 2016.
Universities are places where students learn to think, argue and disagree. Where they learn to form opinions and voice it. A good educational institution gives students the space and encouragement to nurture this voice. Banning mediums of free expression, needless to say, goes against this spirit. Such a clampdown not only sends a wrong message to students but also doesn't behoove a varsity of the college's stature. The students must realize that they can raise their grievances in a better and a subtle way. Reach out to the people and find out more about the practices that the University has been following for a long period of time now.
The University would do well engaging with its teachers and students to actually solve their grievances, rather than shooting the messenger.