Hall day skit leads to suspensions

In response to a complaint filed with the Women’s Cell, six students of Hall-2 have been found guilty[1] by the institute authorities. The complaint was filed by two girl students citing ‘verbal, sexual, emotional abuse and public defamation’ in the skit performed during Hall day of Hall-2. The skit staged, as per reports, was vulgar in nature, and publicly insulted specific girl students. The Academic Senate, henceforth, has punished one student with a year-drop and five students with a semester-drop.

The complaint once received, was investigated by the Women’s Cell, which then submitted its report to the Senate Students’ Affairs Committee (SSAC). In its recommendations, Women’s Cell mentions that ‘student members’ of the Hall Executive Committee (HEC) of Hall-2 should be punished for the act, as they found them guilty for dereliction of duty. SSAC, after considering the report, accepted it. In the report forwarded to the Academic Senate, SSAC recommended suspension of one student, who happens to be an HEC member, for a semester. Also, the student, along with two other HEC members be fined with a sum of Rs.50,000 each. The three students who were involved in script writing, be also fined the same amount. All these six students were recommended to be also placed on Disciplinary Probation until graduation. The committee also recommended that none of the student members of the HEC, along with the three writers, be allowed to hold any official posts in the HEC, gymkhana, festivals, clubs, alumni positions in the future. Further, all hall activities, including Galaxy and Hall day, be banned in Hall-2 for the next three years.

Academic Senate, the highest decision-making body of the institute, after considering the report of SSAC, did not accept the recommendations in entirety but made changes based on the dissent noted in the report by 4 out of 9 SSAC members. First, the punishment for the student, who was suspended for a semester was escalated to a year. Second, instead of imposing fine of Rs.50,000 on the other five students, they were suspended for a semester. Also, the academic senate, instead of banning all ‘hall activities’ for three years, banned all ‘hall cultural activities’ for one year, in Hall-2.

In order to discuss this case, an emergency meeting of the Students’ Senate was called upon on September 4, 2015. It was identified, that there exists major concerns with the entire procedure. First of all, the investigation of Women’s Cell was not appropriate. The UG Girls’ representative in the Women’s Cell was never invited to any of the meetings. By the time the UG representative got to know about the committee, the report was already forwarded to SSAC. It also came to notice that the PG Girls’ representative signed the report, without being actually present in any of the meetings. Also, it was alleged, that the students who were interrogated, were misquoted by the investigators, who carried their own biases.

Dr. AR Harish, who happens to be the Dean of Student Affairs(DoSA) and Chairman SSAC, was made aware of the aforementioned problems. In his capacity as DoSA, he was expected to table the student concerns during SSAC meeting. And as Chairman SSAC, in the meeting of Academic Senate, he was expected to lay down relevant facts and provide the rationale behind the recommendations of SSAC. However, the Students’ Senate found that Dr. Harish failed to fulfil his responsibility in both roles.

Another concern was raised during the Students’ Senate meeting – if the student members of HEC are being held responsible, so should be the warden, who happens to chair the HEC.

Apart, as was argued in the Students’ Senate, there is a general lack of ‘scalability, consistency and clarity in deciding the punitive measures for students by the Academic Senate.’ Students’ Senate is of the opinion that if the Academic Senate had concerns about the recommendations of SSAC, either ‘it should be referred back to the SSAC’ or the ‘case should be discussed in its entirety in the Senate before making a decision’. Further, there is a no clarity on what punishment will be awarded for a given disciplinary misconduct.

The Students’ Senate, in this emergency meeting, unanimously adopted a resolution, expressing ‘its discontent on the recent proceedings of the Institute bodies with regard to disciplinary matters concerning students.’ In the resolution, the Students’ Senate expressed its concern that ‘this may lead to a situation where the students’ general body starts feeling apprehensive about the way proceedings are carried out by the Institute bodies in disciplinary matters and may become reluctant to file complaints’ and requested the institute authorities to take necessary steps to resolve these issues.

Written by Samarth Bansal

Clarifications

[1] For questions have been raised on the investigation by Women’s Cell, as mentioned in the article, the cited charges may not be entirely true.

 

  • Manoj Kumar Srivastava

    friends i don’t know anything about the incident but being an iitkian i think punishment of one year suspending for an skit is more than required—provided no physical abuse had been done

    • Reetu

      no physical abuse …. so mental abuse by skit is acceptable ?

      • Kayjix

        Unfortunately yes Reetu. In an open space: you can happily enter into a verbal fight / abuse-contest with a person on the road, but not punch him/her in the face –> thats how the law of most countries are drafted.
        Plz dont mis-read, I am not talking about closed spaces (e.g. a house, laws of domestic abuse may be different)
        Further, I dont think Manoj said anything about acceptability, it appears to me he was merely juxtaposing the offense with the punishment.

        • Shashank Bhandari

          Actually no. This is a grave offence because of the nature of the event. You can not resort to slander and character assassination on a very public forum without consent. You have a right to free speech as much as the other party has a right to be offended. And that is when the Indian Penal Code section on sexual harrasment comes into play. On the other hand, I agree that the nature of crime committed and the punishment are not commensurate.

          • Kayjix

            noted, with thx Shashank.

          • Anonymous bin Ich

            Indian Penal Code and people who threaten to use it in gender related issues and the biggest problem of this country that should be thrown in jail. IPC doesn’t even accept that men can be raped, and here we are ruining some kids (yes they are kids so everyone who supports this decision should get their heads of their collective asses) life because an offense that is as flimsy as ‘i got offended and i want him to be punished’.

            This is a sad day in history of IITK. This now proves that manginas have infiltrated even the Indian academia and logic or farsightedness is not important anymore. No wonder IITK has lost its standing every year.

          • Gundeep Kaur

            But no men got raped… I understand meninists.. even agree with them at times… I know men who have been raped… and i know its horrible..
            but this time it is a woman that has been hurt. Why not stand by her side in this specific case. Nobody is asking for support for the entire female population.
            Who decides when these kids grow into adults… If they are grown up enough to shame an innocent girl on a public platform by passing remarks of sexual nature, then they are grown up enough to handle this humiliation themselves. The only difference is that the bacchi never provoked them… while they provoked her to file a complaint.
            Had she been seeking revenge, she could have gone the Jasleen Kaur way, posting of FB and ruining their reputations.. but she took the wise route.. filed a complaint and sought help from the system. reconsider your statement ‘I got offended and I want him to be punished’. How is she at fault?

          • Anonymous bin Ich

            What is wrong with you? A woman has been ‘hurt’? How? Was she touched? Was she stopped from doing something? Did she suffer any material damage?

            Oh… you mean she felt discomforted. Obviously that is a crime. We want to create a society where men grow to put the comfort of women as of paramount important, not their own.

            Is it the job of IITK to teach whatever the hell an adult should do, or should it focus on engineering? Should we also start classes about criminology and gender studies? If there is a crime being committed why don’t people go to police? Lets assume that parents have higher expectations from a college, as most students have never left their home before coming to the campus. It is more true for premier institutes like IIT actually, as most students who reach there have 0 knowledge about anything except physics, maths and chemistry. Is the responsibility only towards female students? So a young girl’s emotions are hurt and so a young boy who has probably never talked to a girl and has been asked to create “funny” without any oversight but under tremendous pressure (can’t let academics suffer, can’t let skit be a dud) must be suspended? Are children with p**is different from children without p**is? Is a sexist joke a crime? The woman could have just stood up and objected. No no. That is too much burden on weak shoulders of daddy’s daughters.

            Btw, Jasleen Kaur was trained to use social media as aap volunteer and she used the support structure she had. This girl was taught to come running towards a special cell for women and complain about anything, so she did. Now tell me, why are the kids not being given a DP? 2 DPs result in termination. No sir.

            I wish I didn’t knew the answers to that question. IITK administration, like rest of the western educated Indians, follow an imaginary line between ‘Indianness’ and ‘whats right’. This time ‘whats right’ has been imported from western universities in the form of special women help cell. And ‘Indianness’ has been maintained by keeping women and men separate, putting stupid restrictions when they meet, putting a dress code etc. Women cell in west actually function to resolve sexual assault cases. Since IITK doesn’t have a sexual assault problem, women cell has to stoop this low to justify its existence in the name of ‘setting an example’.

            This is reverse sexism. Only most people don’t think boys need help. They didn’t used to think that girls need help too, but in last 50 years of feminism people have been sensitized to women’s plight. Some moron doesn’t like jokes and the world starts crying ‘justice’. Same world has 1000 reasons to look the other way when a boy is being punished for the mistakes of his elders (in this case, SSAC should have reviewed the skit). You know, the ‘patriarchy’. The one which asks men to man borders to protect women.

            And please don’t say ‘provoked to file complaint’. Time has come for girls to own up their shit and take some responsibility. You got the world men built because you wanted to run it, now run it like men or be punished like men have been for 1000s of years.

          • Gundeep Kaur

            I know of sexual assault cases being handled by the women’s cell. And similar punishments were given. So if you are ignorant, it is kinda your fault.
            Some groups are more vulnerable than others and you have to watch your language in front of them. For example, using derogatory words for socially backward classes or north eastern citizens is a crime in India. Or using inappropriate words like ‘nigger’ etc is controversial in other countries. So reserve your backlash. Groups with a history of negative stereotyping or oppression have to be handled differently. But we dont see any hue and cry associated with that. You would never say something like ‘you lower class people got the world that upper class people built.’ Because saying that would make you an insensitive jerk. But people deliberately want to be insensitive to women. You dont want to accept that it was their fault in this case.

            When does it become about criminology? The matters raised in the institute are those that require punitive measures to be taken by the institute authorities itself. If it is worth putting someone in jail, the appellant will appeal to the police. Like all institutes, this one too has a disciplinary committee and a judicial body. Should it stop running because YOU have a problem with one judgement?

            Nobody would have thought of doing such a thing in school, or in their workplace.The problem is, people think that being in college gives them the freedom to do whatever they want. And the SSAC reminds them that they cant.

            These ‘young boys’ that you are vehemently trying to defend are not naive. They created derogatory content on purpose. They had zero knowledge other than PCM? What is this, a joke? Do they know how they are supposed to wipe their behind, and not flash it in front of others? Sure they do, because it is basic etiquette and sensitization. And it is expected that they learn it before they come here or at least while they are here, irrespective of the background they come from. So it doesnt matter if they had interacted with females before this or not. Are we supposed to punish parents for not teaching it to their boys? Of course not, because what they learn, is their own responsibility. And what they dont, is their fault.

            They punishment that was given maybe be too much, as some people would argue. But the outrage is even more disproportionate. Nobody is hanging those kids. Nobody is throwing them in jail. It wont kill anybody if they finish their degree late. They can work hard and compensate, get good jobs. A lot of people who are finishing their degree late are getting good offers. Like i said before, it doesnt matter what they do in their suspension break. What matters is, what they do when they are back.

      • Manoj Kumar Srivastava

        reetu ji no abuse is acceptable but punishment seems to be more than required.PS–i am totally ignorant of incident my comment is based on description published in this article only.

        • Anonymous bin Ich

          It is a skit, it is supposed to be funny, it is being done by kids who have stepped outside of their school for the first time and there is a very clear anti-male attitude among administrators (in year 2005 they wanted to randomize room allotment because letting male students chose their wing was apparently ‘promoting homosexuality’ – I wish I was joking). If we can’t joke about random people in a stupid skit, and we are an engineering institute not drama and art that we should have high expectations, then we have already lost.

      • Avinash Shrivastava

        Ok, I am not sure but It was a hall skit and was not compulsory to attend for everyone, right ? Some people might have enjoyed that and some people did not. So you chose to be there, right ? But I would probably leave the place if I was being mentally abused by skit or anything else for that matter.
        The suspension for one year does not make sense in any way.

        • Gundeep Kaur

          Read the article thoroughly. It does say that the skit did make derogatory remarks about specific girls. Which means it is wrong.
          How do you (or we) know whether the women left the premises or chose to stay there. In either case… does leaving the premises make it okay for them to continue their obscene act? Filing a complaint would be the ultimate route for tackling this problem, right? And that she did. So where’s the problem? If the system failed to function properly on one or two levels, why does it become the bacchi’s fault?

          • Avinash Shrivastava

            ok, I did miss the part about comments on specific girls, and I did edit my comment after reading it but somehow it’s not showing edited comment but the original and I will rather explain here instead of editing again. Leaving the premises does not make it right but it does save you pain. In my case yes I do that when i don’t care about the person speaking ill of me. and yes even in that case, suspension of one year is more than what was necessary. A DP/AP with sufficient fine would have done the job effectively i guess, cold have involved parents too.
            Also if you want to improve the situation, whole culture of IITK needs improvement, punishing some for one event won’t change much.
            and please, I never said it’s bacchi’s fault. Filing complaint was right, but the punishment decided by senate was certainly not.

          • Gundeep Kaur

            You are being reasonable. I agree to what you said. But there was a time when being on a DP meant something serious. These days it doesnt. Except if you commit a grave mistake again, your degree gets terminated.

            The institute has been trying to change the culture of IITK, but we as students have been reluctant to accept the changes being made. Bhokaal dance was cancelled. Even nirvaak (though it was a bad piece of journalism) brought out this issue in a separate article (it was titled ‘howra bridge humaare culture ke liye kitna zaroori hai?’ or something like that) but due to the outrage on the other article, even this meaningful issue faced unnecessary criticism. People went to great lengths to defend this uncultured ‘culture’.
            If the institute can terminate someone’s degree for manipulation of answer sheets, then with that perspective, this punishment is not as huge. You could say that previous cases were not handled in this manner. But who is to decide whether the previous cases were rightly handled or this one. Because there are so many cases when harsher punishment was required, example the beating up of a senior by a group of Y11 people. In the end, It’s all subjective.

      • Anonymous bin Ich

        Yes. Mental abuse doesn’t happen in a skit, as everyone offended had a right to leave the premise.

        • Gundeep Kaur

          Because leaving the premise makes it okay for the offenders to keep offending?

      • Manoj Kumar Srivastava

        any kind of abuse is not acceptable.my comment is based on description given in above news only and the punishment seems to be more than reqd

  • aakash kumar

    Instead of countering the abusive culture of Hall 2 some great and respectable people countered the innocent people who were unaware of such abusive habbit just 2 years ago. I dont know the address of real culprit but i know one thing that these innocent people were doing nothing but trying to maintain the culture of campus(and especially hall-2) without caring for quizzes and now on the JUCTICE DAY i was expecting that all the people ,who laughed at that time in that skit will be rewarded with some respect like others .Its UNJUSTICE with all those are rewarded and also with those that are unrewarded. Thank God i didnt attain that otherwise UNJUSTICE will crawl into my room. Today on teacher’s day student are seeing towards the GODS(decision makers) of temple(IITK) and hoping that JUSTICE will WIN.

    • Rakesh Mehra

      Innocent…SERIOUSLY
      “Rest in Peace ENGLISH”
      Your innocent people are not 12 year old kids who can’t make out the difference between right and wrong. And by supporting them, you have also gained the same innocence.
      CONGRATS

      • aakash kumar

        i request u to focus on wat is said n nt on hw is said…….i hope u r well aware of hostel life in the campus if nt den plz go through the hall anthem of hall-2 , previous years script of hall 2 skit , bhokal dance , ragging n talkng style etc….. what is this????? from where n whose support dese rubbish cult were imposed on the d culprit (accrding to u) in d very frst year…… its nt d frst tym tat such type of skit r happening……chek d histry .I have nothing to do with all dese guys wt i expect is d justice.Y dont u ask d decision maker to hang dese culprit?? Aftrall dey have followed d teachings of seniors, which were gifted in d very frst yr .Instead of targeting ppl we sud target dese rubbish cult n lifestyle…dese ppl r nt criminal ,dese r just d blind follower of legacy…..dey r nt 12 yr old boy tats y dey learned all dese GOOD HABBITS of campus instantly. dont talk about wrong or right just go n search d real culprit in ny hostel.

  • Sip Sen

    The statement “…the Students’ Senate found that Dr. Harish failed to fulfil his responsibility in both roles” may or may not be true in this particular case. But as I have met DoSA quite a few times and my observation as a hall 8 resident is that DoSA is really INCAPABLE of making decisions as an administrator. He either delays process of solving a problem or becomes idle. For the last 60 days. there is no HEC in hall 8 because DoSA overruled the warden’s decision of conducting the by-elections, and that too without explaining any reason. It seems that DoSA doesn’t have any clue of students’ grievances but has every possible way of diplomatically keeping progress of a possible solution stagnant for the reasons best known to him.

    In 2012, I witnessed the then DoSA taking prompt decisions and striving to solve the problem as soon as possible. On the administrative front, these are the worst days in the 4-year history of IITK (I have been in IITK for the last 4 years).

    Nevertheless, being an optimist, I am hoping for so called good days to come in near future!

  • Himanshu Pandey

    Though DoSA might be unable to put forward student’s grievances, what about the 4 student senate’s nominee to SSAC. Did they know about the discrepancies in the women cell investigation proceedings ?

    • Sanjana Gopal

      Actually they did know that there were some allegations against the investigations conducted by the women’s cell and to the best of my knowledge the DoSA in his capacity of the Chairman, SSAC was informed of the same.

  • The Dude

    I don’t think the skit made fun of female students only . The skit also must have made fun of boys of other hostel , other hostel and their presidents in abundance and most dirty way possible . It was the female who got offended . Too much for feminism

    • IITK_Kingsman

      Do not jump to conclusions without any facts backing your argument. Without the script, you cannot simply assume that “The skit also must have made fun of boys of other hostel , other hostel and their presidents in abundance.” It can possibly be true, but then without any evidence, such arguments will go into the trash if presented to the Academic Senate.

      • The Dude

        I am a senior undergraduate who had witnessed numerous skits like these in my four years of study in IITK . We know it . We have done it .We have passed on the legacy .We have a tradition where in we make fun of all the hostels including GH and choose one or two people from that particular hostel , make personal jokes . Don’t try to sound idealistic .

        • Gundeep Kaur

          Look how proud you are of passing on this ridiculous legacy.. *slow claps* maybe because you have this veil of anonymity to hide behind…
          Your rivalry with other halls and their presidents might have provoked you to make fun of them… but why were those girls targeted? When it comes to women, why are the joke always of sexual nature? Because slut shaming is so cool and so funny…
          please choke yourself on this.

          • wonder

            The problem with authoritarian feminists like you is that you have a very big ego and very little empathy. I was ragged by girls in college, now go and get them expelled.

          • Gundeep Kaur

            yeah. because people are getting expelled for ragging students of the other gender all the time!. because these guys are getting this punishment because they ‘ragged’ a junior girl!
            Dont equate apples and oranges please.
            Humiliation inflicted on a public platform is completely different. And the comments made on the woman were of sexual nature.
            Why defend this act? Lose the rigidity.

          • wonder

            There is no difference, and people are also not getting expelled for skits ‘all the time’. Please develop a backbone and some humanity, and stop defending the heinous act of the IITK administration.

      • wonder

        Feel free to share the script if you have it, to negate the reasonable assumption that it worked on the same lines as on other occasions. Shameful that authoritarians like you feel proud at the actions of kangaroo courts.

        • IITK_Kingsman

          Wait, wait, wait….. I think that I have not explained myself clearly and been partly misunderstood. I am not defending the administration and its actions. My comments were in the spirit of the one important thing the report is all about: the fallacies in the process followed by the administration in deciding the action to be taken. The thing is, while we all agree about the attitude and intentions that go into making such skits, the argument that The Dude makes won’t help the cause (of reducing the degree of punishment), because if The Dude’s argument were put forward to the ultimate decision making bodies of the Institute (SSAC, Academic Senate), they would immediately ask for evidence, which none of us have. And that, in short, is our two-face administration: while they themselves take shortcuts instead of going into a much required logically sound debate before delivering such judgements, it is the same people who will ask for all sorts of evidence when asked to reconsider their decisions in the light of the mistakes that they made. In fact, the bloated egos of the administrators won’t allow them to accept that they were wrong in the very first place.

          On a different note, I think that I should have commented separately and expounded well rather than wrote just a short reply. At the moment of writing, I felt that my thoughts were somehow relevant to what The Dude had written (which, on second thoughts, are not so much). The issue of culture and feminism is a part of a much larger debate, something which the set of suspensions has forced us to ponder upon.

  • Deeptanshu Shukla

    This is a very unfortunate decision and grossly disproportionate to the alleged inappropriate words spoken. And all this at a time when the Supreme Court has been speaking of decriminalizing the offense of defamation as it is often used by trigger happy litigants with high sensitivities. From what little I read above, it seems the suspended students might not even have been given a chance to explain their side against the principles of natural justice. I do think that the language of our hall skits needs to change, as, many a times its in bad taste. I also understand the need of the administration to “set examples” but one must consider the humanitarian aspect. Suspending students is as good as spoiling their lives, what would happen if any one of them takes the extreme step? As an alumnus of IITK, I urge the authorities to reconsider the decision and scale down the punishment (if found guilty) to something which doesn’t spoil their lives. The students should file a Writ in High Court against the decision if it remains unchanged.

    • Gundeep Kaur

      You really think that the SSAC will take a decision without listening to both parties? Such assumption, Much wow.
      Read this blog by a prof who knows proceedings like these.. and has been voicing his concerns publically for a while and then decide the scale of punishment. I hope you’ll understand.
      http://insideiitk.blogspot.in/2015/09/hall-day-skit-leads-to-suspensions.html

  • Abhinav

    Few professors and students thinks themselves as Judges and can lay any kind of penalty on there own is absolutely the IIT way of dealing things and putting huge pressure on students. Consider a fact if this thing goes somewhere in public then I don’t believe this would be the outcome. In my opinion if one year of suspension is imposed than this matter should be taken to court of law and let actual judge decide the penalty.

    • Gundeep Kaur

      Consider this: If someone pulls off this stunt at their workplace, they will definitely get sacked. Which equals expulsion. And the institute has only suspended people because they were ‘young’. So dont assume that your viewpoint is the only correct one. Other people are not idiots. And definitely not the ones who are sitting on the judging chairs.

    • Harsh Vardhan

      So what will u do if someone places a loudspeaker outside your house and begin cussing everyone who comes out of the house or goes inside, using all kind of abusive words? Afterall he is doing it in public and it is visible and audible to everyone on the road.

  • Suresh B

    what the hell is wrong with IITK students out there…. I mean if you were offended then this matter could have been resolved without reporting issue with women cell. It’s cruel of those girls to target your batchmates or seniors and affecting somebody’s career like this
    .. a disappointed iitk alumni

    • Gundeep Kaur

      So cruel! Because they complained. Because it is their fault that some insensitive morons decided to make a joke out of them.
      Because it is not cruel at all when people make jokes about your character on a public platform and have a good laugh. Because it is not at all cruel that alumni get unnecessarily disappointed when the system takes the side of the victims. Or when they fail to understand that who targeted whom in the first place.
      The punishment maybe disproportionate according to some but here’s Prof Sanghi’s blog. trust me, it makes sense.
      http://insideiitk.blogspot.in/2015/09/hall-day-skit-leads-to-suspensions.html

      Someone needs to slap a fresh perspective onto a lot of defenders. and Sanghi Sir is the man.

  • Divesh Aggarwal

    Highly unfortunate decision. Sad to see IITK fall down by so much.

  • AK

    IIT-Kanpur has been doing this for a long time. This still does not seem to work and similar cases happen over and again. The approach is completely wrong. The institute prides itself by recruiting the best minds of the country, and then fails to educate them even on the most basic social and behavioral manners, despite having an army of humanity experts.

    Meaning of education is “help me learn if I do not know it”. On the contrary, the institute tries getting rid of the needy ones.

  • Sanjana Gopal

    Actually, once the minutes of the Academic Senate are ratified, the students are in fact punished. The academic senate in fact is the only body that can punish students. So, i believe, this piece isn’t misinterpreting this case

  • Sahil

    One of the best decisions made by the academic body