The layout of much awaited Assimilation Program for second-year undergraduate students has been released for the hall and central activities [Photographs attached in the post and Departmental events schedule yet to be released]. In this reference, Awaaz, IIT Kharagpur had an interview with UG representative in the Senate, Mr. Krushi Bandi who expressed his opinions on some of the frequently asked questions regarding the program. Here we present the conversation with a hope to clear out any misinformation regarding the program targeted exclusively at the overall benefit of the second year students.
Q1. Physical atrocities and other unruly behaviour have been observed as a part of orientation program in halls in past few years, what has been done to make sure this won’t be the case under Assimilation Program?
Ans. Yes, indeed there have been such incidents in the past but the very motive behind this program is to remove any sort of fear or prejudices that have developed regarding hall orientation. Clear instructions have been given to all the stakeholders of Halls and Gymkhana regarding the organization of the program to make sure there is no mishappening. UG representative and Vice President, TSG will carry out occasional inspections in halls to ensure that the purpose of the program is correctly matched.
Q2. Even after sufficient instructions, if at all there are cases, what are the options available to the student?
Ans. Though chances are minimal, the student may lodge his/her complaints to the Internal Grievance Committee formed specifically in this context headed by Vice-President, TSG and Vice-Chairman, UG Council. Sincere efforts will be made to solve all internal conflicts at the student level itself with the assistance of Wardens and Faculty Advisors. However, if there are problems still emerging out of it, Dean Of Student Affairs shall intervene.
Q3. Is there an anonymous portal planned for the same?
Ans. No, even though this issue has been discussed several times within the administration, there has not been a final outcome on whether or not the anonymous portal be a trustworthy feature to hear complaints. Rather, we have tried to make sure that the internal grievance cell is accessible and takes actions in time in such a manner that the student lodging complaints are not asked to report repetitively. Even the hall representatives are aware of the sensitivity of the matter and are willing to cooperate wholeheartedly.
Q4. In the past, hall orientation programmes have extended overnight. What has been done to ensure that the time limit of each hall session is taken care of?
Ans. In the meetings with Hall representatives, we have made it very clear that the sessions should not extend beyond the specified duration. All the halls have complied with the timings and hence any intention of extending the program to late night would be strictly taken care of.
Q5. What has been done to monitor the working of the program and extract results out of it in the context of the participation and involvement of students?
Ans. Currently, work has been done on a mobile application, integrating both central and hall assimilation, that will act similar to a database which will have already registered details of the students. With the progress of each event, we shall be marking the attendance which will act as a parameter to identify cases of non-involvement, especially at the hall level.
Q6. Suppose you are able to identify the cases of non-involvement or disconnect through various inputs received by the database or halls, has there been a plan to tackle those cases?
Ans. There is no exclusive committee made for the way ahead but once the assimilation program is over, we shall try to look into the inputs received and try our best to respond to such cases to investigate whether there are medical reasons or mental well-being problems. However, at the same time, we have to make sure we do not intrigue into the personal space of individuals via over-monitoring,.
Q7. Second-year students are mostly aware of the existing cells and societies which are about to present in the Assimilation Program. There are speculations that this may be a possible move of politically motivated individuals to hijack the assimilation machinery. What is your take on this?
Ans. No, any political agendas or representations will not be given a chance to propagate through the assimilation platform. All the contributing cells and hall representatives are assisting to make sure the discussions and activities are entirely fruitful for the students and do not serve any political purpose. The events have been planned in a way so as to communicate the utility of various cells present in the campus and instil confidence in them regarding the student welfare machinery so that they are not hesitant in personal or professional aspects.
Q8. Has there been any communication with professors requesting them not to assign hectic assignments and submission deadlines in the duration of the program?
Ans. No, the need of such communication was not felt, primarily because no other gatherings or meetings would be going on in the campus during this interval so that the second years have enough time and space to actively participate in the scheduled activities. Also, the timings of halls and central programs are already taken care of to ensure there is no academic chaos.
Q9. Has there been a notice to make it certain that there are no such gatherings or meetings carried out within halls once the assimilation program is done and dusted?
Ans. No such notice has yet been released. Though it is one very effective point that you have raised and we shall be taking this into consideration.
Q10. There have been cases in the past when General Championships (GC) trials have been used in the halls for imposing compulsions on students. Has anything been done to ensure GC trials stay fair and healthy?
Ans. The GC trials are a wonderful opportunity for the students to explore and discover various fields of interest and hence all the hall representatives encourage the hall boarders to become an active part of it. There is no space for compulsions or forcing individuals to the trials under the objective of assimilation.
Q11. What has been done to make sure there is sufficient participation in halls such as girl halls and halls such as MMM where undergraduate student representation is not efficient to carry out the program?
Ans. Vishal Kumar Singh [VP,TSG] had a meeting with the girl halls’ representatives regarding this and hopefully, the assimilation shall see initiatives taken by the representative students to conduct the events effectively.
Regarding the halls which do not have efficient undergraduate hall representation, we have tried to carry out conversations with other halls who may voluntarily come up to assist them. For an instance, in what has been a welcome move sighting the necessity of the program, representatives from Radhakrishnan Hall Of Residence have stepped up voluntarily to carry out hall events in Madan Mohan Malviya(MMM) Hall which is currently occupied by freshers and sophomores only when it comes to undergraduate population.