Staff body of St Stephen's calls for setting up of panel to reach out to students in financial need

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New Delhi, Nov 19 (PTI) The staff association of the St Stephen's college here has written to the principal, asking for the setting up of a committee to reach out to students facing monetary issues, following an LSR college student allegedly committing suicide over financial constraints in continuing with her studies.

'The staff association would like to request you to set up a committee comprising the heads of all 11 courses taught in the college to consider the needs of students for financial support and disburse all scholarships, financial aid and bursaries urgently,' president of the body Nandita Narain said in a letter to the principal.

'As we are all aware, the pandemic has caused great distress in the society. There is an increased financial hardship and some of our students are facing genuine difficulties in accessing online classes and paying the fees. Some of the faculty members have been receiving requests from students for help with both the payment of fees and also for obtaining devices to attend the online classes. We fear that there are many more students out there who have not yet reached out,' she added.

The association suggested that the college can issue a notification on its website, inviting applications from the interested students, and the committee of heads, on the basis of the applications, can decide on the disbursal of aids.

'Further, some students will also be needing support with devices to help them attend classes and also to give their exams. Some years ago, the Delhi University had sent a large number of laptops to each college for use by the students and the faculty. If some of them are still functional, they could be made available to the students in need. We request the college administration to reach out to students and let them know of the availability of these devices,' the letter said.

'There has been a very tragic case of a student of a DU college committing suicide as a result of financial distress and the lack of institutional support,' it pointed out and urged the principal to share suggestions on the same.

Aishwarya, a student of the Lady Sri Ram (LSR) College for Women and an IAS aspirant, was found hanging at her Shadnagar house in Telangana's Ranga Reddy district on November 2. In a suicide note purportedly written by her, the 19-year-old said she did not want to burden her parents with her educational expenses, police said.

The second-year BSc Mathematics (Honours) student had returned to Telangana from Delhi in March, after those staying in the hostel were asked to go home by the college authorities in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. PTI GJS RC

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