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Officials of IISc Bengaluru removing ceiling fans from hostel rooms to ‘prevent suicides’, say students

There have been six cases of suicide on the campus in the last two years.

By: Express News Service | Bengaluru |
December 17, 2021 4:07:16 pm
Students of the premier educational institute in the country say that ceiling fans in hostel rooms are being replaced by wall-mounted fans. (File)

In a purported bid to prevent suicides on campus, officials of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru are removing ceiling fans from hostel rooms, said students.

There have been six cases of suicide on the campus in the last two years.

Students of the premier educational institute in the country say that ceiling fans in hostel rooms are being replaced by wall-mounted fans. An internal email, written by students to the chairman of the Student’s Council and accessed by The Indian Express, stated that personnel who are working to remove the ceiling fans have told the students that “all rooms in all the hostels of the IISc will be covered in the next 15 days. They state that the move is in response to the recent student suicides in hostels.”

The students reportedly conducted a survey in which 89 per cent of the respondents did not want ceiling fans to be replaced by wall-mounted fans. The rest of the students said they do not care about the move. The survey conducted by students has been attached along with the e-mail to the chairman of the council.

Meanwhile, 86 per cent of students in the survey do not think that replacing ceiling fans with wall-mounted fans will curb suicides.

“Taking this poll as a sample indicator of the entire student population of IISc, it is clear that currently the student community does not wish to proceed with this installation.They see no worth in its value proposition. Even more alarmingly, beside the 5-7% who affirm of the change, there is a non-zero 7% of the population which could not form an informed opinion on the subject – a subject that directly affects or will affect their domicile – for some upto the better part of this decade,” mail stated.

The Indian Express reached out to top officials of the IISc, but they haven’t responded yet.

Meanwhile, a youth counsellor called it a non-scientific manner of approach by the management of IISc. Bharathi Singh, Youth Counselor, CEO at Samudra Foundation, said, “The alleged decision is an impulsive reaction on part of the management. The Institute should work on a grassroot or core reason on why students are committing suicide. The management through counsellors should address the anxiety issue, fear of failure or academic pressure including the personal issues since the students are staying away from home.”

Singh, who is also a campaigner working to prevent suicides in Bengaluru, said the Institute should focus on setting up a student counselling centre and training the faculty to be empathetic to students. “Management should enrol counsellors who can regularly talk to students and available for the students where students can tackle their psychological and emotional issues,” Singh added.

A student’s council member at the IISc said that the wellness centre in the campus, set up to provide mental health support to students, has not been effective and that there have been calls to improve it.

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