Report by Stanley Gabriel and Sharayu Shejale
The Student Legislative Council, featuring the newly elected legislators and Speaker, met for the first time this semester on the 28th of September, 2018. The meeting began with the oath-taking of the newly elected representatives. Two of the legislators took the oath in their own vernacular languages. Following this, the meeting moved on to discuss the following agenda points:
The budget of the Research Affairs Secretary.
The budget spreadsheet was displayed on screen and the Research Affairs Secretary (RAS) initiated the proceedings by talking the committee through it. He began by drawing attention to the fact that the t-shirt and the PG Freshie Night budget was no longer covered by the institute, and thus the funding had to be a part of the SLC budget. The total budget came out to be Rs. 2,16,300 which is higher than the past year.
Furthermore, the RAS proposed that the PG Freshie Night be conducted under the purview of the Cultural Secretaries, by the Sangam Clubs. This is a departure from previous years, where the event was solely organised by enthusiastic PG students. The Speaker recommended that this pattern remain unchanged, as organising the PG Freshie Night is also an opportunity for the PG students to meet and bond with each other – which may not happen if the Clubs organise it instead. In response, the RAS provided assurance that the Clubs will only play a facilitating role, and the event will be in collaboration with the PG students – this will not be an issue. The RAS was further questioned where the extra money was going to come from. The RAS clarified that there is always a buffer budget from the previous years that can be utilised.
The budget was approved by the SLC with one rejection and three abstains.
Resolution to solve the water-logging issue in the library-hostel-SFC zone during heavy rains
Chinmayi Gajula, the Sharav legislator, then brought up a need for passing a resolution to solve the water-logging issue at Sharavathi and that mosquitoes menace during times of incessant rainfall is a situation to be sorted right away. She also pointed out this issue had been recurring for several months. To this, Sriram, the SGS replied the water tables of the institute show that the library-hostel-SFC zone had higher tables to the surface and were natural sinks. Neither a separate drainage system nor a quick-fix from a single meeting could work. However, the engineering unit and administration would appreciate it if a procedure was suggested to them. Revamping roads, rainwater harvesting, and having gravel or alluvial soil deep inside to increase its hydraulic capacity were the solutions brought up. Possibilities of considering this a research project and incentives for the same were also discussed. The agenda ended with the formation of an ad-hoc committee which the council voted (0 against, 2 abstains and the rest were with the motion).
Formulation of the Policy Club under the Speaker
The proposal for a policy club which would provide a platform for students interested in the domain of policy making, and honing their skills in areas of policy consultancy was put forth by the Speaker. Sriram, the SGS, suggested the policy club be made a separate department (such as in IIT Delhi) with a structured team along with a HoD. The club, under the guidance of Career Development Cell, would improve skill sets of the General Student Body by handling workshops and collaboration projects, much like the Finance and Consult Clubs, according to the SGS.
To this, the Speaker replied that the same could also be achieved under his leadership. Sriram replied that such a body with legitimate authority lead by the Speaker stands to contradict the fact that Speaker’s duties are separate from that of the Secretaries’.
A vote for formation of such a club under the Speaker was brought to which 6 abstained and there were 0 against, and the bill was hence passed. However the council brought about a need for such urgency and would be better if this could be deferred to the next week in presence of the IAR Secretary. A GSB member also stated that when a process such as the ratification of the Fifth Estate Executive Editor had been delayed due lack of responses, the formation of a club which would benefit the entire GSB can be thought through more carefully. Another vote for deferring the formation of club was taken to which 12 voted against and hence the bill passed. A suggestion to take a vote for it to be under the Speaker was brought up by the Speaker himself, but he was reminded that the bill had been passed already.
Resolution to look into the matter about the non-availability of Institute Bus from 1:30 PM to 2:15 PM
A hostel legislator raised the issue of how the non-availability of Institute Buses during these timings is inconvenient, as the bus staff has their lunch break during this time. This becomes an issue for the PG students – their classes usually extend upto 1 pm, and they reach their mess by 1:15 pm. After this, they only get 15 minutes to have their lunch and catch the bus again. It was proposed that an additional bus could be made available at 1:45 pm or 1:50 pm, which would solve the issue.
Concerns were raised about the budget required to hire an additional driver, or about the changes in arrangement of shifts among the drivers. The SGS proposed to extend this discussion to the making the Institute buses available post 9:30 pm as well, but the the SLC members confined the discussion to original proposed resolution.
In the end, it was agreed that the matter was a serious one, and the solution offered was feasible. The resolution passed unanimously.
Proposal to make Three member Ad-Hoc Committee for selecting the members of the Standing Committee
It was proposed that an ad-hoc committee be constituted for selecting members of standing committees. The members of this committee would be completely neutral and not vested or involved with the agenda of the standing committee. This is to be done to avoid a partial, biased or an unfair selection of the members of the standing committee in question.
The Speaker asked for volunteers for the same. Ramcharan Reddy and Ramcharan Roy volunteered. It was decided that these volunteers were sufficient for now, and another volunteer can apply in the future.
Discussion about the T5E-Executive Editor Ratification
The Speaker informed the T5E team and the Council that the vote for the ratification of the Executive Editor has been postponed. The form circulated on smail asking for complaints or issues regarding the Executive Editor had failed to draw any responses, and was thus believed to have not been publicized properly. The time to respond to the given form was therefore extended, after which a report is to be made based on the responses, answerable by the T5E Executive Editor. Following this, the ratification discussion will take place.
Rohitha, the Executive Editor, asked how much time will she get to reply to the report. The Speaker replied that it depends on the number of points raised and the discretion of the SLC, but assured her that a minimum of two to three days would be given. A point was raised questioning the inclusion of the ratification of the Executive Editor as an agenda point before the announcement of the extension of the complaints form. Furthermore, it was argued that a lack of responses meant that there were simply no issues with the Executive Editor that are to be raised, and the question was raised as to why the form was extended. To this, the Speaker again put forward the rationale of low information about the Executive Editor, and lack of proper publicity for the same. He also added that many people were unaware of who the T5E Executive Editor was, and hence an extension was necessary based on requests by some members of the GSB. This discussion was thus concluded.
Additional Agenda Points:
Procedure for availing instrumentation facility at SAIF
A legislator brought up the issue of the long and excessively bureaucratic process the instrumentation at SAIF. It takes at least 15 days to get a sample tested. The SLC decided to ask for the possibility of web verification to speed up this process.
Water issue at the Biotech Department
The water facility in the Biotech Department is not maintained, and the quality of water provided is not good. A photo was shown where the water in the water tank had a layer of dust on top of it. It was decided that the issue be taken up in the next HoD meeting.
Are Independent Student Bodies (ISBs) allowed to have IITM logo on their posters?
One of the legislators raised the issue that he found the IITM logo on some ISBs’ posters, such as Genesis. An ISB is not allowed to have the IITM logo on its posters, coloured or otherwise. Similarly, student T-shirts are not allowed to have coloured IITM logo printed on them, although the outline is permitted. The legislator proposed that SLC officially condemn the ISBs in question.
Another legislator brought up a previous SLC resolution, which allowed ISBs to have the IITM logo on their posters if they get permission by the Dean. As the ISB in question had permission from the Dean, the issue from the first legislator was thus irrelevant. However, it was decided that the Speaker would speak to the Dean to gain clarity on this.
Request for night-mess in the four tower hostels
The tower hostels do not have options for eateries, and it becomes very inconvenient at night. It was proposed that either a night mess be established or the back gate to Ganga hostel be opened for access so the students can go the eatery there. The former suggestion falls under the purview of the individual hostel councils and their respective budgets, so it was shot down.
The second suggestion raised a security issue as an additional watchman would need to be stationed to monitor the back gate. It was recommended that the legislator who raised the proposal do some groundwork about the logistics of it all, and then get back to the SLC, where it can be further discussed.
The meeting came to an end with the reminder that the application for the SLC Secretariat were open. The Speaker members of the GSB to apply for the same. He would also be holding a policy making and legislation workshop for all the legislators, where they get a better idea of their responsibilities and the skills that are required for the same.