By Meghna Malik
All India Students’ Association’s Geeta Kumari and Aishwarya Adhikari from the Democratic Students’ Federation were elected as students’ representatives of the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Saturday.
Elections to GSCASH took place on Friday, in which 3,015 students cast their votes. Kumari bagged 1,148 votes.
Adhikari secured 927 of the total votes. Other candidates who contested in the elections were Students’ Federation of India’s Salini L R, ABVP’s Vasundhari Bharti and Sourabh Kumar, NSUI’s Heena Goswami and AISF’s Rahila Perween.
“The ABVP failed to win the elections. The top three winning candidates are all from Left students’ organisations,” Kumari said, after the results were announced.
“As a representative of this committee, my main aim will be to make GSCASH accessible and approachable for both men and women on the campus. Not only the students, I also intend on sensitising the workers in our university and will encourage them to come forward and speak up if they face any sort of harassment,” she said.
GSCASH, which works as an autonomous body, was instituted in 1999. It consists of two student-elected representatives, faculty members, office staff and representatives from the JNU Students’ Union, JNU Officers’ Association and JNU Staff Association. GSCASH has three major functions: gender sensitisation and orientation, crisis management and mediation, and formal enquiry and redressal.
Adhikari urged that more such committees be set up across colleges in India.
The elected student representatives plan to conduct a gender survey across the university, in order to get feedback from students on the functioning of GSCASH. The committee is also aiming at increasing the number of student representatives and releasing bi-annual progress reports. Further, the committee plans on releasing bulletins and magazines to raise awareness on gender-related issues in the university.
“It is very difficult to manage all the work with just representatives, which is why we are now aiming to get at least four-five representatives from next year. Students from the queer community will also be encouraged to be a part of GSCASH,” Adhikari said.
(The reporter is a student of Exims, Delhi)