New Delhi- An official circular released by the University of Delhi claims to have formulated a committee that will look into the social media activity of the teaching and non-teaching staff. This comes at a time when diverse voices of dissent are making their mark within the campus, claiming no voice will go unheard.
The notification reads, “The Competent Authority of the University has constituted a Committee consisting of the following members pertaining to the use of social media platforms in respect of the employees of the university for framing such a policy of the university: Prof. Sanjeev Singh, Director, DUCC as the chairman, Prof. Ajay Jaiswal, Principal of SOL, Dr. Kshitij Kumar Singh of CLC, Sh. Manish Manocha who is an advocate, Sh. Anup Lather, PRO of the University of Delhi, and Dr. Manisha from the Department of History are the nominated members.”
While many teachers in Delhi University, especially those from marginalized sections, are facing mass displacements, the new circular brings another struggle to the forefront: the struggle to voice one’s issues and concerns. The notification is dated 8th December and is a university circular put in place announcing the formation of a 6-member committee made up of nominated members. They will look into the Delhi University employee’s use of social media platforms.
The Mooknayak spoke to Dr. Maya John, History professor at Jesus and Mary College, an elected member of the academic council of Delhi University. She revealed how it is a part of the larger attack on democratic freedom within the institution.
The teacher asked, “The timing of the circular and constitution of the committee is a red flag. It is precisely the juncture of a number of criticisms of the university policies. There is no elected representative member. Where are the stakeholders being represented?”
Through every check and step, the administration is making sure the voice of dissent is curbed. John said, “The university is hinting at the fact that it does not want any public engagement of criticism anymore. So, they are trying to curb the democratic right of freedom of expression. This is clearly an autocratic response from the university. We also need to remember that university intellectuals do not only teach but provide an analysis of the larger things happening inside and outside the campus. That is ingrained in us, and restraining that means blocking the functioning of professors.”
The circular came out on 8th, the very same day Dr. Laxman Yadav’s press conference was scheduled. “University intellectuals have the responsibility to stand with social justice. These are reflected through various social media campaigns as well because not all fights are to be fought just on the ground. Through that logic, in the case of Dr. Laxman Yadav, solidarity was demanded through social media. People were vocally speaking out through social media. All these add up,” remarked the history teacher.
“This obviously alerted and created a crisis for the university administration because one of the biggest research institutions funded by the government wants to be seen as implementing various aspects of the National Education Policy 2020. The university does not want to take any criticism towards that or to the ‘political cronyism’.”
Maya John expressed a positive perspective when discussing the potential repercussions of such a notification. The teacher claimed, “In terms of the future, I see many teaching and non-teaching staff continuing to resist, which we have been doing for a long time now. Talking about the current socio-political climate, social media is something the ruling class wants to use a lot but only according to their agenda. Only a particular form of knowledge production is encouraged. But when we speak out in defense of the right to use social media platforms, it is not just to oppose the wrong narratives but to counter that narrative with the right ones. Currently, it becomes very important to have equal access to such platforms. If it does not happen, all the platforms will have a singular voice, which is in itself against the idea of Democracy.”