The newly renamed Students’ Legislative Council (SLC), formerly the Student Affairs Council (SAC) was conceived of in the Students’ Constitution of IIT Madras, written in 1982, which was a pioneering move in its time. It was the first students’ constitution which allowed elections and which defined roles and responsibilities in a clear-cut fashion. Until then, selection for positions of responsibility had been carried out by the professors.
Since then, this structure created by IIT Madras has been adopted by several other institutions throughout India.
The SLC, headed by the Speaker (an elected head) consists of 56 representatives, who are convened to, among other things, run the legal side of affairs, make rules, insulate themselves from external political influence and monitor the activities of the elected secretaries – the Executive Wing of SLC.
The Executive Wing consists of the secretaries, whose posts are the most well-known and for which large scale elections are conducted; they are voted into office by the General Student Body, on the basis simple majority of one vote per student. Each secretary has a subcommittee assigned to them, to help them and oversee their work, headed by a Chairman (formerly the secretary himself, but a separate person in the modified framework). We asked the Speaker and the Executive Wing members three questions: to describe their job in one sentence, the best part, and the worst part of their respective jobs. Here is what they had to say:
“With the help of my team, I take care of the technical activities, whether it is an event of Tech-Soc, 4-day long technical festival ‘Shaastra’ or activities of CFI. But please note, if your cycle is not working, however technical it may sound, it does not belong to my job description.”
Best part: Inculcate ‘feel’ for creating something (code, mechanism or circuit) especially in freshies.
Worst part: Resume verification. For winners and coordinators.
2. Shiva Saketh Sanka, Academic Affairs Secretary(AAS)
The AAS, as the name suggests, deals with issues of the GSB on academic matters, and monitors the functionality of related facilities such as the Library, Computer Centre and so on.
Best part: The amount of policy making involved in academics is a lot and I get a chance to know the other side of coin (professors’ version). Luckily the institute is willing to make a lot of changes and improvements in curriculum. I also get to interact with people from lit, tech, acad, sports, and all other kinds of junta in insti.
Worst part: Even though I just have one course and DDP in the semester I still know the difference between a weekday and a weekend, thanks to HRs. And all the cups of acad section somehow get related to me.
3. Sethu Madhavan, Sports Secretary
The Sports Secretary is responsible for all sport – inter-hostel and inter-collegiate tournaments, monitoring and coaching the Institution teams for each sport.
“I am supposed to get students out of their room to do at least one physical activity everyday but end up explaining to people that buying balls for hostels is not my job.”
Best part: Being able to mail all the students at once.
Worst part: Going through three levels of approval for every small thing like buying bananas.
“I provide access to the student community to the world beyond institute by leveraging on international and alumni relations.”
Best part: Working with an efficient and enthusiastic bunch of students who can make anything that we visualise as a team possible. I also have the best office amongst the EW.
P.S- It has an AC and an HD TV
Worst part: Everything is good being the I&AR Secretary .
The RAS works together with the AAS, specifically dealing with affairs relating to the Research Scholars.
“Though I’m the RAS, virtually I am the SGS, HAS, AAS and CulSec for Research Scholars.”
Best part: I address every aspect of research scholars starting from their quarters issue to the plagiarism in their thesis (if any).
Worst part: Nobody recognises the intensity of the problems I’m trying to address.
6. Kishore K S, Hostel Affairs Secretary
The Hostel Affairs Secretary deals with accommodation (hostel) and mess-related issues.
“I try my level best to make IITM home away from home for all students; by monitoring messes, bringing in more facilities and by even teaching cooking for those who are not satisfied with mess food and eateries!”
Best part: Moments when you have to take some really tough decisions and obviously food!
Worst part: Mails, calls and meetings!
7. Gokulesh, Cultural Affairs Secretary (Arts); Shreyas Harish, Cultural Affairs Secretary (Lit)
The Cultural Secretaries, working with the Cultural Advisor, deal with all cultural activities which take place within and related to the institution. This ranges from inter-hostel events (Lit-Soc), club events, and most importantly, Saarang, IITM’s cultural fest.
“We’re responsible for ensuring that everyone on campus has a couple of fun activities to take part in, which reduces us to walking suggestion boxes for Saarang.”
Best part: The people. About 500 people on campus are our minions. But actually, the team is amazing.
Worst part: The constant nagging feeling that we’ve forgotten something. With 250 events, 500 coords and 2 crores to keep track of you know something is going wrong at any point of time.
The SGS is the common link between the other secretaries, and represents the views of the GSB. He also deals with all issues which do not fall under the jurisdiction of any other secretary. The post is held by Purab Jain.
“Well, when someone asks me to describe my job, I say either of the following
‘I am the face of the BEST engineering college of India’ or
‘Yeh Insti mera hai aur main yahaan ka Jayakant Shikre.’”
Best part: ‘Jayakant Shikre of our Insti’ – It actually feels good to be one!
Worst part: Mails, calls, messages etc etc have been contacted by people via all the social media I am a part of!
And the grand finale:
The SLC speaker conducts, moderates and convenes meetings. He or she decides which issues to raise in each meeting; however, the Speaker does not get to vote on said issues. Not technically a member of the Executive Wing, he or she is elected by the SLC councillors, twenty days after the rest of the EW elections.
“I was supposed to convene, conduct and moderate SLC meetings. Instead, I have ended up becoming a walking rulebook, a broken stereo repeating the words of the Students’ Constitution and a shuttle-cock in a badminton game between the Legislature, the Executive and the Admin.”
Best part: I don’t know.
Worst part: Everything.