Design: Swati Sheenum
A Board of Students (BoS henceforth) meeting was convened on the 28th of May, 4:30 pm, via Google Meet. In attendance were 40 members including the Dean of Students (DoSt henceforth) and his office, Faculty Advisors of all student bodies, the student Executive Wing, department legislators, and representatives of official student bodies such as SECC, CFI, and T5E. The meeting began with the Deputy Registrar Students confirming the minutes of the previous BoS meeting conducted on February 7th, 2019 at the DoSt office.
This was followed by a presentation by Mitr Advisor, Prof. Nilesh Jayantilal Vasa about the activities and steps taken by the Wellness Centre. A task force with collaboration from NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences) was constituted to investigate the well-being of students in the campus. This task force visited the institute on the 13th of March, 2020, and spoke to all stakeholders – including staff, Wellness Centre professionals, faculty, and students. The task force gave recommendations including special training of paramedics and security guards, along with continued collaboration with NIMHANS.
Next, the Research Affairs Secretary (RAS), Rohit Goyal, presented a proposal of restructuring the RAS teams (RSD and CDC-R), and expansion of the CDC-R (Career Development Cell – Research) for year-long activities. This proposal was discussed and accepted by the Board.
The Student General Secretary (SGS), Kushal Reddy, presented three proposals to the board. The first proposal was for an Institute-wide committee for incoming students, which will oversee all the formalities associated with welcoming new students like, admission, orientation, hostels and immersion program. This will be similar to the committees that exist for the Institute Day and Convocation. This was accepted by the Board, to be taken up in the Senate.
The second proposal was for instating a review/feedback system for the Executive Council where 2-3 Faculty Advisors panel would be in constant touch with the EC and have a review about their work/reports/progress/manifesto etc in specified intervals. This proposal was accepted with a modification. Instead of a Faculty Advisory Panel as proposed, there would be a students committee which should oversee the working of the Executive Council.
The third proposal was about seeking for approval of Students’ Governance at IITM website as a portal for dissemination of information pertaining to the three arms of Students Governance, EC, SLC and SECC, where all the reports by these would be made available to the public domain. This proposal was accepted by the Board.
The next to present was the Student Ethics and Constitution Commission (SECC) Commissioner, Gudi Ramcharan Reddy. Approval was sought regarding changes in the Election Manual, major changes namely being the mechanism to file complaints, the introduction of a new mandated format in collaboration with T5E (Election Q&A), and an expanded social media policy.
Furthermore, approval was also sought for the Rules of Procedure of SECC, which expanded on the roles and responsibilities of the SECC from what is mentioned in the Students’ Constitution. The two documents are to be circulated among the members for comments. Thereafter, approval to be taken up by circulation.
This was followed by a presentation by the Speaker, Rishi Vigneshwar, on SLC’s reporting items. Firstly, a constitutional amendment scrapping the elected position of Research Councillor was proposed. This amendment was proposed because of the redundancy of the post after the Placement duties have been reallocated to selected core posts and the existence of Research Legislator Posts to take care of other department-related activities. After discussion, this proposal was accepted by the Board, to be taken up in the Senate.
The second item to be presented was the passed SLC resolution recommending that the decision of closing Krishna Gate be reviewed and it be reopened. The resolution demands that the student representatives be consulted and be taken into confidence before any such decisions are implemented and requests the administration to furnish more information like the minutes of relevant meetings, reports and complaints in regards to the closure of the Krishna Gate in the first place.
The DoSt responded that he will convey passing of the K-Gate resolution to the Director. The Board was also informed that closure of Krishna Gate was an administrative decision which had to be taken at an appropriate time.
The next item was an SLC resolution which was passed recommending the Student Government to look into mechanisms to sensitise the Institute population and create disincentives against the occupation of parking space by fines etc, to increase accessibility. Office of the DoSt to forward this request to Administration.
The final item to be presented by the Speaker was regarding the extension of the tenure for hostel council posts. Given the circumstances that it was not possible to conduct the Hostel Elections alongside the Institute Elections and the Department Elections, a bill was passed giving the option to the current hostel council members to hold the office with full power until the Hostel Election is conducted. This was accepted, and the DoSt office will inform the respective wardens and the OHM.
Next, the DoSt began his presentation. Firstly, it was announced that due to less number of elected representatives this time, in case of emergencies, Chairman, BoS or his nominee will convene SLC with or without a quorum to resolve important issues. Secondly, it was requested that the team structure and contacts of respective cores of all student bodies be compiled by respective secretaries and sent to the DoSt office for ease of communication.
Lastly, the DoSt announced the solution for the vacant post of the incoming Academic Affairs Secretary (AAS). The selected Placement Head, an Internship Head, and a CDC Head will be responsible for handling placement, internships, and career development activities. The residual responsibilities of the AAS will be temporarily fulfilled by the SGS, until elections can be conducted.
The meeting drawing to a close, time was given to the attendees to go through the final reports by SLC, Executive Wing and Standing Committees, which were previously circulated among BoS members. Addition of more responsibilities for hostel legislators was also discussed, and further discussion in the SLC was called for, after which it would be presented to the Board again. Finally, the DoSt concluded the meeting by stating his appreciation for the 2019-2020 BoS team for their excellent fulfilment of duties and carrying out of their responsibilities. The meeting ended with a vote of thanks to the Chair and other participants.