Kolkata: St Xavier's College, Kolkata has decided to rechristen the students union as students' council - a move which is unthinkable in any state-run or state-aided institution. Not only have they renamed the existing students union, but also introduced criterion for students who want to contest the election.
The education commission set up by chief minister Mamata Banerjee had recommended a change in the name of college students unions. However no other institution, apart from the erstwhile Bengal Engineering and Science University (Besu), could implement the suggestion. "It was the students' union members of our college who proposed to rename it. The word 'union' sounds synonymous with agitation. It gives out a sense of dialectical nature of relationship. It is opposed to a healthy approach towards holding discussions. Rather, council gives out a sense of dialogical approach where reasons can be seen and both parties sit together and discuss with equal rights. In a students' council, students are primary stakeholders. We would want to promote the concept of council where healthy dialogues can be held," Felix Raj added.
The proposed St Xavier's University will start operations from 2017-2018 academic session. "We expect the bill to be passed in 2016 at the assembly. The university coming up at Rajarhat will kick-off with an MBA and course together with Xavier's Institute of Management and Masters in Social Work courses. We are also planning to offer a few post-graduation and under-graduation courses. Based on public-private partnership model, the governing council will select a vice-chancellor while the Provincial of the Jesuit Calcutta province will be the chancellor. St Xavier's College with its 156 years of legacy will function as a separate body and will not be merged with the university. Later, we can affiliate it with the newly founded varsity," the principal said.
One of the surprises waiting for the city in 2016 is the performance by legend Asha Bhonsle who will perform at the college grounds on January 26 for Beyond Barriers - a fund-raising programme by the alumni association. "The alumni have been instrumental in the growth of the college. It also brought great reputation for the college," said Felix Raj, appreciating the role of the alumni association. We also expect 'Beyond Boundaries' to be a huge success which will be held at Toronto in the month of May. We expect almost 400 alumni to attend the meet. It will be a convention of both the USA and Canada chapters," said Firdausul Hasan, secretary of St Xavier's College Calcutta Alumni Association (SXCCAA).