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IIT-B annual elections on Feb 16: Keeping campus ‘apolitical’, promoting ‘diversity’ high on candidates’ agenda

The elections will be held on February 16 for the posts of general secretary for academic affairs, cultural, sports, technical and hostel affairs. The campus strength of nearly 10,000, including undergraduates and postgraduate students, will cast their vote.

Written by Abha Goradia | Mumbai |
February 11, 2020 2:53:16 am

With the annual general elections at IIT Bombay less than a week away, candidates have raised various issues affecting students on campus in their manifestos. Besides the usual promises of improving facilities and infrastructure, keeping the campus “apolitical” and promoting “diversity and inclusion” have found space in several campaigns. The issue of increasing placements for MSc students and bringing it at par with BTech and MTech students has also been highlighted.

The elections will be held on February 16 for the posts of general secretary for academic affairs, cultural, sports, technical and hostel affairs. The campus strength of nearly 10,000, including undergraduates and postgraduate students, will cast their vote.

Madhav Gupta, contesting for the post of general secretary academic affairs, spoke of his intentions of keeping the policy wing of academic affairs neutral and apolitical. In a video posted on the Facebook page of IIT Bombay Broadcasting Channel, Gupta said he aims to keep the “tone” of events organised on campus “free from political affiliations”. Events will be scrutinised for checking political affiliations and posts on social media will be monitored, he said.

Another candidate, Priyank Samagra Jain, has highlighted the need for cross-cultural and gender sensitisation on campus. “Placement statistics of 2018 and 2019 have shown that only 76 per cent MSc students were placed. Some students have asked the two-year course to be expanded to three years in order to allow internship component to increase employability options,” he said in a video.

On January 28, the institute issued new hostel rules, prohibiting students from taking part in any “anti-national, anti-social, or any other undesirable activities”. It also warned students against distributing pamphlets, delivering speeches, staging plays or playing music without permission. After students from IIT Bombay for Justice Forum approached the director last week protesting against the circular, Director Subhasis Chaudhari has reportedly written “no comments” on their memorandum. A protest was also staged by students against the new hostel rules. An open letter to the director by students arguing the freedom to protest on campus has remained unanswered.

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