Students of Jadavpur University in Kolkata staged protests on Wednesday after the administration decided to scrap entrance tests for six undergraduate courses in Humanities this academic year, and enroll students based only on their Class 12 board exam marks.

Comparative literature, history, political science, philosophy, English and Bengali are the subjects for which tests have been cancelled.

“The Executive Council has decided that entrance exams for admission to the Arts subjects will not be held only this year,” University Registrar Chiranjib Bhattacharjee said, according to The Indian Express. “This decision has been taken to address legal questions over the exams and to not harass students awaiting certainty of admission process.”

Bhattacharjee added: “The Executive Council resolves that the admission committee of the faculty of arts is empowered to determine the modality of admission according to Class XII marks of any board as per the requirements of different subjects. Accordingly, the notification of the admission test will be withdrawn.”

University’s Vice Chancellor Suranjan Das claimed that some students confined him to a room after the decision was announced. “This is an unfortunate and an undemocratic way of protesting,” he told News18. “My question is what role do the existing students have in this issue? They have every right to express their concern but this is not the right way to do it.”

Bhattacharjee claimed that the university’s executive council decided to scrap the entrance exams because several people were unhappy with the previous decision to involve external experts to conduct these tests.

However, scrapping the admission procedure, which has been in place for 40 years, has displeased students as well as teachers at the university. They feel that the decision may lower the academic standard of the university, PTI reported.

Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association President Keshav Bhattacharya said this move will lead to discontent among professors, students, scholars, guardians as well as applicants. “We believe that the admission process cannot and should not be continued without the involvement of teachers of the departments and schools,” Bhattacharya said. “We request the council to resolve the issue and decide an academically desirable mode of admission that includes teachers who have, year after year, proved the success of the system.”

English Professor Abhijit Gupta said, “Now it [admission] will be like a lottery. I don’t know how they will judge applicants. Entrance test was the most transparent way to get admission in JU.”

Echoing Bhattacharya’s statement, Gupta added: “We did this for the last 40 years and there was no single complaint before. It was a tried and tested process and everybody was satisfied.” There could be some “external motive” behind this decision, he added.