Jadavpur University has made it mandatory for all first-year students to sign an undertaking, saying they are aware of all the disciplinary steps that can be taken against them if they are found to be “part of a conspiracy to promote alcoholism, drug and substance abuse/intoxication on the campus, including university hostels”.
The undertaking also makes it clear that students are aware of what they are getting into if they “actively or passively” possess, consume, or store these substances on the campus or at “hostels, training sites, university-sponsored events and conferences”.
JU, like most other higher educational institutions, can suspend or expel students in case of any violation. This is the first time that the university has made first-year students sign the alcohol-drug-substance abuse undertaking; the only such undertaking that students had to sign till last year pertained to ragging.
The decision to introduce the undertaking follows a recent incident where JU was unable to furnish rules for penalising a student who drank and got into a brawl at the research scholars’ hostel. The student, who was hauled up and suspended, challenged JU’s action.
JU officials said the undertaking was one of the several measures drafted at a meeting convened this January to enhance security on the campus. These include increased vigilance by hiring more security personnel, compulsory registration of outsiders entering the campus, surprise nighttime patrols and mandatory stickers on visitors’ cars.
Professors, however, are sceptical about how effective the undertaking will be. A University Grants Commission guideline already exists on panalising students caught consuming prohibited substances on the campus. But it has not been implemented. “JU officials had also decided that students would not be allowed to enter the campus between 8.30 p.m. and 6 a.m. or loiter around without university-issued identity cards. But nothing has been done to implement these rules,” a professor said.
A senior JU official admitted that some “recent incidents” had prompted this move. “The UGC requires all freshers to give this undertaking. We implemented the ragging-related undertaking a few years ago. We are now implementing the undertaking on substance abuse,” he said.
Many other universities, including Presidency University, already have relevant regulations prohibiting liquor consumption and substance abuse on the campus. “There is no need for another undertaking as the penal measures are specified in statutory regulations,” a Presidency official said.
Source: Times of India