SSAC Ignores Procedures in Ragging Related Issue

The 1st Emergency Meeting of the Students’ Senate, 2017-18 was held on 3rd September, 2017 to take cognizance of a recent mass disciplinary action taken against students, in response to a complaint against ragging filed by some Y17 students. On 2nd September 2017, the Senate Students’ Affairs Committee (SSAC), decided to take punitive action over 100 students, and punishments included all possible actions in the purview of the SSAC. The student nominees of SSAC couldn’t divulge more information because they were bound to maintain confidentiality of the proceedings of the committee, until the order is communicated to the students involved.

It should be noted that the following mandatory procedures were not followed in the SSAC meeting

  1. The students in question were not even informed about the complaint being considered against them, thereby not allowing them to present their case
  2. The Warden’s statement, which is considered as the official statement for the incidents that take place inside the hall premises was not taken into account
  3. The committee decided to give punishments to a group of students at different levels because the people who were responsible for ragging didn’t come up to take the responsibility for breaking the rules

The Students’ Senate has drafted a resolution to be sent to the Director highlighting the issues mentioned above and has also requested the Director to constitute a Special Disciplinary Committee to investigate the matter in an unbiased and fair manner. The resolution can be found at the following link : https://goo.gl/a2SoXD

The Senate expressed its deep discontentment against the procedure undertaken by the committee in taking action against the students. The Students’ Senate noted that the SSAC acted in violation of the democratic foundations and values this institute has been built on. It acts as an evidence of the autocratic approach taken by the SSAC as it completely undermines the authority and power of the Students’ Senate, and thus the students.

Written by Akhilesh Tayade

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  • Himanshu Pandey

    I think the reasons for the problems are as follows, they are not mutually exclusive:
    1) Members with diverse set of backgrounds –
    Though a change membership is good but it is untrue in this particular case. SSAC doesn’t have a guideline document (or that I know off during my one year tenure as a SSAC member). Henceforth, huge deviation can be seen In SSAC’s decision/behaviour across issues every 1-2 year. Basically, no one knows or can predict what kind of mistake will lead to termination or what kind of crime may lead to community service. People who have seen SSAC working over a period of 5-6 years would easily understand.

    2) Professor members run their own agenda:
    Most of the professors are unhappy with IITK. They have different personal reasons for their unhappiness – IITK administration, decisive leadership, indisciplined students (mainly due to low attendance and plagiarism), useless student festival (:P , according to some faculty festivals should be noiseless excluding concerts, rock bands, discos etc.), disturbing a women’s modesty by either a skit, play, song etc. Now, these professors, when they become SSAC member, make it their prerogative to punish students based on their hatred category. You will get the picture !! One fine ( yet unfortunate) day a molestor might get a semester drop but a senior student roaming in a first year wing might get terminated (I believe a must collateral damage in current situation).

    3) Ineffective Dean and less empowered Student representatives- Both these factors go hand in hand. As a part of a meticulous student governance program (which IITK adminstration and alma mater is so proud of and boasts about), DoSA is supposed to empower the representatives at various forums, they also need to train them, trust them in critical situations. That’s the definition of a good governance model. Quoting Gymkhana constitution (not sure if it is even acknowledged now a days :/) , DoSA is a chief counsellor, not an executive and students are called executives for a reason. Unfortunately, very few DoSA have the correct attitude about this training (I was lucky to have a great mentor :) ). In the worst case, it is the Director’s responsibility to take the interest in and understand student governance. Every time, the leadership (including a DoSA) should depend on fact finding committee report or a standing committee’s recommendation. He/she should use their tribal knowledge to evaluate critical decisions. Similarly, it is DoSA fundamental duty to ensure that their is uniformity and gradual change in SSAC’s stance towards students’ mistakes be it ragging, cheating, low attendance or fraud etc. Making stand alone examples out of few students basically is a cheap trick performed by a desparate and incompetent leader.

    To be very precise here, in the current case, DoSA should have had the courage to deliberate the matter with 360 degree perspective, should have asked ex-deans or even current director (off the record) and ex-directors ( on record) to normalise the voice of revolutionaries in the SSAC. Again, all those who have been in the SSAC would know.

    I only wish good luck to innocent juniors and requests new DoSA and SSAC members to consider history into account before taking any decision that might destroy a student’s life.

    Please excuse any typos- typed on a mobile keyboard :P