IIT Kanpur Initiates Reforms: Open House, Faculty Sensitization and More Post Student Suicides

IIT Kanpur Set to Implement Substantial Changes Following Agreement with Students
The scholars staged a sit-in protest on January 19 to press in for key reforms aimed at students' welfare.
The scholars staged a sit-in protest on January 19 to press in for key reforms aimed at students' welfare.(File Pic)

Kanpur: In the wake of three tragic suicides at IIT Kanpur, the student community rallied in protest, prompting the administration to concede to their demands. Following intense negotiations led by Dhwanit Balwani, representing the students, and engaging with the IIT K director, an agreement was reached. The administration committed to a series of measures aimed at enhancing student welfare.

It is note worthy that after a third case of suicide in the last five weeks at the institute, the students of the premier higher education institute held a protest on campus today, Friday, January 19.

Here are the key reforms made in response to the students' pressing concerns:

  1. A mandatory open house by each department will be conducted within 7 days, and the institute will conduct the same within 15 days to discuss the progress of the 5-membered committee.

  2. The proposal for the Masters Mentoring Committee, which aims to mentor the PG students, has been accepted in principle and will be implemented after a revised proposal from the students.

  3. Faculty Sensitization program has been accepted and will be implemented in the near future.

  4. A compulsory course related to mental well-being has been accepted in principle and will be implemented after finalizing the details.

  5. The Standard Monitoring Committee will take action on the proposal for the betterment of the living conditions of halls within 15 days.

  6. Steps will be taken for the betterment of hostels and civil maintenance work by DoIP (Dean Infrastructure and Planning) and IWD (Institute Works Department) office and will be conveyed within 15 days.

  7. The decision about the make-up exams for students failing a course in their final year will be updated within 14 days.

  8. A student nominee will be instated in the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC).

  9. Scholarships like MCM (Merit-cum-means) FBM (Free Basic Mess) will not be halted except for the case of disciplinary action.

  10. The termination of recent students is on hold. Students will be asked to reapply by 22nd January, and their re-appeal will be taken up at the meeting on 24th January.

  11. Doctoral Monitoring Committee (DMC) for all the batches will be implemented.

  12. Semester grade report to be prepared: This report should contain cumulative grades of all previous semesters and state clearly all clauses for potential termination (CPI, X grades etc.) attached along with the transcript itself.

  13. Ombuds group: A Director-General-level retired or working professional be requested to serve as the chairperson of the student ombuds group, and student representation will be included as well. The proposal for an external member in the Ombuds committee will be taken to the board of governors.

A student who joined the Master Programme this semester said, "The director agreed to almost all the demands students made, now the deal is to see how effectively it will be followed. Hopes on good implementation. The protest was effective to bring a lot of conversation, in each department and household.

Overall, I feel there has to be a realization that often situations are so hard that people take such steps. There'll be no answer to what and why it happened. These things will happen again. Kindness is not gonna develop anytime soon, I'll still be hopeful."

The Counselling Services at IIT Kanpur

The Mooknayak also spoke to Dr. Shantanu Misra, Head, Institute Counselling Service at IIT Kanpur. He said, "The Institute counselling service has a team of psychiatrists who counsel the students, helping them overcome stress. The team also has around 600 students apart from the psychiatrists. The students help them meet their non-academic needs like "where can they find good food, a good mattress, or in case they got their bicycle stolen, they would help them. We also have academic mentors who help the students in their academic issues if they are not able to get along." He said that the Counselling Service is working 24*7, and around 20-30 students approach daily. Apart from that, we also reach out to the students if we observe that a person has not been coming to class, to the lab, etc., and has not been eating or any other change in behaviour.

Also Read-

The scholars staged a sit-in protest on January 19 to press in for key reforms aimed at students' welfare.
IIT Kanpur Witnesses Third Suicide in a Month, Sparking Students' Sit-in Protest Against Administration
The scholars staged a sit-in protest on January 19 to press in for key reforms aimed at students' welfare.
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