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‘We will not act against students’ wishes’

Staff Reporter

All representatives given a fair chance: Minister

— PHOTO: S. SIVA SARAVANAN

IN OPPOSITION: Students of the PSG College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore, stage a sit-in on Friday in protest against the Government’s proposal to convert PSG Institutions into a unitary university.

COIMBATORE: “There is no compulsion on the government’s part to push through the unitary university status for PSG colleges. We will not go against the wishes of students [of aided courses]. We will consider all the suggestions,” Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudi said on Friday.

Responding to queries about the public displeasure over the review conducted on Thursday by the select committee headed by him, he told reporters that it was held in camera, in compliance with the Assembly rules. “It is not true that the committee had made decisions even before the meeting. The committee was constituted by the Chief Minister for receiving suggestions. If we did not want to consider the suggestions, the decision would have been announced earlier. The committee will take a decision after deliberating on all the suggestions. It will take a few months. When the decision is arrived at, it will not be a unilateral one,” he said.

Denying reports that enough opportunity was not given for representation, Mr. Ponmudy said all representatives were given a fair chance to put forth their views. “No one was suppressed.”

“When students or teachers made representations, I, too, expressed my views. That does not mean I have already decided to convert it [PSG colleges] into a university. It was only a forum to find out objectively the benefits of a college education vis-À-vis university education from both the sides,” he said.

Earlier in the day, students of the PSG College of Arts and Science staged a sit-in to protest the “attitude of the management.” Students claimed that when they came to the college, they found a number of police personnel posted at the entrance. “Why should they consider us a threat? We are only against the government’s proposal,” said a student. The college declared a 10-day holiday from Friday. Hostellers were asked to vacate immediately.

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