With this year’s passing, National Law University Odisha turns 10 years old since its establishment through the State Act (Act 4) in 2008. Over the 10 years of its being, NLU-O has undeniably had record achievements among the national law school circle. However, like every other educational institution it has faced and still faces problems and issues in its being/ functioning.
The first thing that would pop into the head of an NLU-O bound student when asked about the problems he/she faces is the non-existence of a student body association to address his/her grievances. It is a fact that the university had been putting off the establishment of a Student body association. However, in September 2018 by finally approving the Constitution of the Student Body Association, NLU-O gave its students a pleasant surprise and made history. After series of sessions with the administration, the Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Sri Krishna Deva Rao and other concerned members, the University at last, acknowledged the importance and the role of a Student Council in its functioning. The adoption of the Constitution vested with the student body the power to form a Student Council which represents the students and looks into their grievances. The first student body elections are scheduled to happen very soon and the students eagerly await to elect their representatives to put forth the grievances faced before the administration.
NLU-O has also been facing issues in its girls’ hostels. In order to accommodate the increased intake of students, girls from the 1st and the 2nd year have been shifted to the new girls’ hostel which is still under construction. The building being incomplete and still under construction, exposes the girls living in the new hostel to problems like seepage, dampness of walls, excessive dust accumulation, making it not a very merry place to live in. This issue has been addressed by the VC and the registrar and there have been extensive discussions, it has been promised that the construction of the hostel will be completed during this semester break and before the new semester begins.
Further, the general stores in the girls’ hostel has recently been shut. The only other general store on campus being in the boys’ hostel, this creates a situation of great concern for the girls considering the curfew to the store in the boys’ hostel and the poor accessibility to other stores outside campus which are at-least 10 kilometres away. Starting with the sanitary provisions like sanitary napkins, soap, tooth brush to other needful items during examination days, the girls cannot be dependent on the boys’ hostels vendor or go to a store outside campus. The girls of NLU-O strongly feel that they require a vendor for the girls’ hostel and that the campus must not restrict itself to one vendor in the boys’ hostel. This issue has been addressed by the Hostel Welfare Committee to the Registrar and deliberation upon this issue is yet to happen.
Another issue which causes great inconvenience to the students is the discontinuance of professional laundry services that was earlier provided by the university. The replacement to the same has not been done satisfactorily, Odisha being a humid place with frequent rainfall, it is imperative that students receive laundry services where their clothes are washed and dried. Currently the students are dependent on local dhobis and the hostel helping staff for cleaning their clothes who are not very regular. The Campus Development Committee has taken this issue into account and is looking for a new laundry service provider for the campus.
Finally, the students had also raised the problem of the access timings to the library. Earlier the library used to be accessible only until midnight. After a lot of persuasion by the students, the library is now accessible until 3 am on an experimental basis.
Although the university has been facing a lot of issues, the administration has been actively listening to the inputs and suggestions given by the students. It has been trying to accommodate the requests and resolve the problems faced in the best possible manner, and with the student council set to come into force very soon, things look brighter for NLU-O.
Shreya Sudararaman is a second year student at NLU Odisha.