University of Minnesota Stands in Solidarity with Jawaharlal Nehru University


We, the undersigned at the University of Minnesota, strongly condemn the concerted attack on the students, faculty and academic culture of Jawaharlal Nehru University. At the behest of the government, the Delhi police has pressed sedition charges on unnamed students of the university. Reminiscent of the Emergency, the students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar has been arrested, several students have been suspended and the Delhi police has been hounding students in hostels, homes as well as public spaces in the city. Sections of the mainstream media have launched a vicious campaign to declare JNU an “anti-national” university, and some journalists have gone so far as to spin lies about the “terrorist connections” of student activist Umar Khalid. As a consequence, mob violence against JNU students and faculty has spread across the city and even entered the courtrooms where the case against the JNU students’ union president was being heard. We strongly condemn this hate campaign and demand the immediate release of the JNU students’ union president. We also demand that the suspension of students is revoked and unsubstantiated sedition charges are withdrawn immediately.

This move by the RSS-BJP combine is one among a series of attacks on the autonomy of educational institutions in India, and the very idea of education and democratic political participation. By pressing charges of sedition and violently clamping down on the right to dissent, the government has demonstrated an utter disregard for democratic practice and the law. This erosion of public value is evident in the slew of messages circulating on social media criticizing the “waste” of taxpayers’ money for funding students’ “anti-national” activities, rather than their education. This artificial separation between education and politics, the narrowing down of education to merely an economic activity, and a simplistic conception of democratic political participation are symptomatic of the neoliberal vision of this government. Evidently, the government is invested in strengthening such notions among the public by spreading propaganda which reduces JNU to an “anti-national” university. This maligning of student politics also serves the agenda of discrediting their dissent against the government which has been rapidly gaining steam in universities across India.

In the face of this attack, JNU students and teachers have come together in an admirable show of strength, courage, resilience and love for their university. Their movement is not only defending the idea of JNU, but of freedom and democracy in India. Far from being a hub of “anti-nationals,” the movement has demonstrated that JNU has nurtured the most progressive ideas of nationalism. We lend our support to this movement and #StandWithJNU in solidarity with their fight against state repression and the government’s onslaught on the university.

Signed by:

  1. K Rahul Sharma, Graduate student, Public Affairs.
  2. Kriti Budhiraja, Graduate student, Sociology.
  3. Anuradha Sajjanhar, Graduate student, Sociology.
  4. Trupti Sarode, Graduate student, Public Affairs.
  5. Siddharth Bharath Iyengar, Graduate student, Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour.
  6. Suvadip Sinha, Faculty, Asian Languages and Literatures.
  7. Quynh Pham, Graduate student, Political Science.
  8. Professor Susan Parnell, Faculty, University of Cape Town.
  9. Erik Kojola, Graduate student, Sociology.
  10. Keavy McFadden, Graduate student, Geography.
  11. Ethan Johnson, Graduate student, Sociology.
  12. Lorenzo Fabbri, Faculty, French and Italian.
  13. Eric Goldfischer, Graduate student, Geography.
  14. V. Ganeshananthan, Faculty, Creative Writing, English.
  15. Harshit Rathi, Graduate student, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature.
  16. Soham Patel, Graduate student, American Studies.
  17. Jigna Desai, Faculty, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies.
  18. Akshya Saxena, Graduate student, Comparative Literature.
  19. Ananya Chatterjea, Faculty, Liberal Arts/Theatre Arts and Dance.
  20. Victoria Piehowski, Graduate student, Sociology.
  21. Baryon Tensor Posadas, Faculty, Asian Languages and Literatures.
  22. Erin Trapp, Faculty, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature.
  23. Yagmur Karakaya, Graduate student, Sociology.
  24. Shan Kothari, Graduate student, Plant Biology.
  25. Lauren Mitchell, Graduate student, Psychology.
  26. Shruti, Alumnus, Humphery.
  27. Nithya Rajan, Graduate student, Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies.
  28. Stephen Cho Suh, Graduate student, Sociology.
  29. Graeme Stout, Staff, CLA – Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature.
  30. Thorn Chen, Graduate student, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature.
  31. Sravanthi Kollu, Graduate student, Asian Languages and Literatures.
  32. Christine Marran, Faculty, Asian Languages and Literature.
  33. Courtney Gildersleeve, Graduate student, Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature.
  34. Brit C. Henderson, Graduate student, Sociology.
  35. Jeff Stolley, Undergraduate student, College of Biological Science.
  36. Gloria Goodwin Raheja, Faculty, CLA/Anthropology.
  37. Nicholas Goldsmith, Graduate student, Ecology Evolution and Behavior.
  38. Miray Philips, Graduate student, Sociology.
  39. Ajay Skaria, Faculty, History.
  40. Sonali Pahwa, Faculty, Theatre Arts & Dance.
  41. Jacqui Frost, Graduate student, Sociology.
  42. Jen Merrill, Alumnus, Liberal Arts.
  43. Britt Van Paepeghem, Graduate student, Anthropology.
  44. Rachel Schaff, Graduate student, Cultural studies and comparative literature.
  45. Erin Dyke, Graduate student, College of Education and Human Development/Department of Curriculum & Instruction.
  46. Isabel Arriagada, Graduate student, Sociology.
  47. Sungok Hong, Faculty, Asian Languages and Literatures.
  48. Richa Nagar, Faculty, College of Liberal Arts/ Department of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies.
  49. Sarah Garcia, Graduate student, Sociology.
  50. Heider Tun, Graduate student, College of Liberal Arts.
  51. Anindita Chatterjee, Graduate student, Department of geography, environment and society.
  52. Julie Santella, Graduate student, Geography, Environment and Society.
  53. Kathleen Hull, Faculty, Sociology.
  54. Devika Narayan, Graduate student, Sociology.
  55. Emily Durham, Graduate student, Asian Languages and Literatures.
  56. Jennifer Jodell, Graduate student, CLA/English.
  57. Joe Getzoff, Graduate student, CLA/ Geography.
  58. Naomi Scheman, Faculty, CLA/Philosophy.
  59. Soyi Kim, Graduate student, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature.
  60. Rachel Kaelberer Mattson, Graduate student, Political Science.
  61. Natalia Vargas Márquez, Graduate student , Art History.
  62. Melinda Kernik, Graduate student, Geography, Environment, and Society.
  63. Alex Manning, Graduate student, Sociology.
  64. Spencer Cox, Graduate student, College of Liberal Arts, Geography, Environment and Society.
  65. Mayank Kohli, Graduate student, Ecology, Evolution and Behavior.
  66. Rye Gentleman, Graduate student, Theatre Arts and Dance.
  67. Abraham Seda, Graduate student, College of Liberal Arts.
  68. Stacey Brumbaugh-Johnson, Graduate student, Sociology.
  69. Allison Nobles, Graduate student, Sociology.
  70. Jacqueline Daigneault, Graduate student, Geography.
  71. Simi Kang, Graduate student, Gender, Women, & Sexuality Studies.
  72. Maria Mendez, Graduate student, Political Science.
  73. David Lemke, Graduate student, English.
  74. Lalit Batra, Graduate student, Geography, Environment and Society.
  75. Michael Goldman, Faculty, CLA, Sociology/Global Studies.
  76. Koel Banerjee, Graduate student, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature.
  77. Alex Steele, Graduate student, History.
  78. Ketaki Jaywant, Graduate student, History.
  79. Aditi Chandra , Alumnus, Art History.
  80. Matt Gunther, Graduate student, Sociology.
  81. Aisha Upton, Graduate student, Sociology.
  82. Andrew Fang, Graduate student, Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
  83. David Faust, Staff, University Libraries.
  84. Mark Martinez, Alumnus, Communication Studies.
  85. Rajyashree N Reddy, Alumnus, Geography.
  86. Nina Asher, Faculty, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
  87. Peter Harle, Staff, College of Liberal Arts.
  88. Ann Meier, Faculty, College of Liberal Arts/ Sociology.
  89. Mishy Roy, Graduate student, UMN Medical School.
  90. Nadim Asrar, Alumnus, Asian Languages and Literatures.
  91. Ashfaqul Chowdhury , Graduate student, Humphrey School.
  92. Rahsaan Mahadeo, Graduate student, Sociology.
  93. Catherine McKay, Graduate student, Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
  94. Kirsten Henry, Graduate student, UMN School of Public Health.
  95. Bruce Braun, Faculty, Geography, Environment and Society, College of Liberal Arts.
  96. Gretchen Gasterland-Gustafsson, Alumnus, Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society.
  97. Timothy Brennan, Faculty, College of Liberal Arts/Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature.
  98. Kate Thompson, Staff, Institute on the Environment.
  99. Zachary Patterson, Graduate student, Department of Sociology.
  100. Ashwini, Graduate student, Geography.
  101. Sarah Saddler , Graduate student, Department of Theatre.
  102. Ateeb Ahmed, Graduate student, Geography Environment and Society.
  103. Sarah Catherine Billups, Graduate student, Sociology.
  104. John Little, Graduate student, CLA/History.
  105. Ryan Steel, Graduate student, Sociology.
  106. Lisa Gulya, Graduate student, CLA.
  107. Tanja Andic, Graduate student, Sociology.
  108. Poonam Srivastava, Alumnus, Biotechnology Institute.
  109. Julia Corwin, Graduate student, Geography – CLA.
  110. Karen Ho, Faculty, Anthropology.
  111. Claire Stoscheck, Graduate student, Humphrey.
  112. Amelia Hassoun, Graduate student, Anthropology.
  113. Paul Rouzer, Faculty, Asian Languages and Literatures.
  114. Arun Saldanha, Faculty, Geography, Environment and Society.
  115. Robin Wright, Graduate student, Geography.
  116. Jason McGrath, Faculty, Liberal Arts/Asian Languages & Literatures.
  117. Abhay Doshi, Graduate Student, Department of English.

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