Updated: January 15, 2022 9:11:34 am
The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi will soon have an office of diversity and inclusion, which will be headed by a Dean to “celebrate diversity on campus” and make the environment “more inclusive” – a first as per outgoing Director V Ramgopal Rao.
In a letter to the IIT-D teachers, staff, and students, Rao said, “I am pleased to share with you that in its last meeting, our Board of Governors has approved the setting up of a Dean position for Diversity and Inclusion at IIT Delhi. We will establish an Office of Diversity and Inclusion which the new Dean will head. Through this, we seek to celebrate existing diversity on campus, to document its benefits to the community and to create a more inclusive environment for everyone.”
“This work is important because as Justice D Y Chandrachud put it (Navtej Johar judgment, 2018, para 148) “Our Constitution, above all, is an essay in the acceptance of diversity. It is founded on a vision of an inclusive society that accommodates plural ways of life.” IIT Delhi becomes the first institution in India to have a Dean lead such an effort,” he said.
Rao said the “broad mandate of the office” would be “to work on gender, sexuality, caste, language, disability and mental health, to foster greater inclusion”.
“Much of this work is already being done at the institute, for example, Initiative for Gender Equality and Sensitization (IGES) has been active for a few years now. The December meeting of SAC approved the setting up of Indradhanu, an LGBTQIA+ collective. Last year, we started providing support to students with disabilities through the Office of Accessible Education (OAE). Further, our counselling services (CS) are no longer only for students. The number of IIT Delhi community members reaching out to them has been rising, indicating a positive change in health-seeking behaviour for mental health issues,” he said.
“The Dean (Diversity and Inclusion) is expected to provide visibility, leadership and coherence to this important work, and to ensure that we can do this in a more sustained manner,” said Rao.
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