Welcome to this issue
A flurry of emails halfway through an otherwise uneventful summer vacation kickstarted the first of several hostel woes (washing machines, random checks, UG3 shifting concerns). Some were resolved, others — not so much. It marks the continuation of an age-long tradition of the administration making decisions without student input, with possible partial resolution if students find the decisions disturbing enough to protest about. It is concerning that so many decisions heavily concerning student life are being made without student consultation, especially when a framework for student representation (the Student Parliament) exists. We as students have oftentimes pointed fingers at the parliament, claiming they do no work. But what can the parliament do if there’s no one listening?
Random hostel checks
The first of the hostel-related emails to spark discontent was one officially authorizing “random checks in hostels”. It is not a new concept in itself, but the scope of unchecked power left a few people very concerned. As stated,
“Students should co-operate with the hostel management during checking of room. Based on the requirement, hostel management conducting checks may ask several questions to the room occupant(s). The hostel management may also check the room meticulously, based on the requirement. During random checks, if any student does not cooperate with the hostel management by exhibiting impolite and improper behavior, the same is to intimated to the Manager-Hostel Admin. for further action.”
The framework leaves a lot wanting in terms of checks and balances – a rogue person in hostel management could potentially abuse the system as there is no clarity on the extent and scope of authority levied during said checking, given the checking itself could be launched off of a suspicion. The issue of unchecked power structures has been discussed at length in the past, and it is alarming how despite this such decisions are taken.
On the plus side, a discussion with parliament representatives revealed that the issue might be resolved: in further meetings the administration agreed not to have random checkings, although if guards found evidence of substance abuse or the like they would report it to the warden.
Washing machine conflict
Students have been complaining about non-functional washing machines for years now. Heavy use cycles over prolonged periods of time means that even the industrial machines we possess have been breaking down constantly. Hardly a surprise, given an average of about 3 machines for 500 students. The administration has been notified of the issue often, with the hopes of finding a solution.
We would have said that nobody expected the “solution” to be a notice declaring that washing machines are to be removed altogether. We would be lying.
Student representatives have since conferred with the administration and had the decision changed, but we must admire the approach initially taken. Issues with washing machines leading to maintenance costs? Remove them! One can only wonder what heights students would have reached had they used the same approach to all problems in life.
In case anyone is still unaware of the hullabaloo that happened last year with regard to Bakul-OBH student room allocation, here is a quick summary:
The college decided they needed to increase interbatch interactions as the policy of separating first year boys from the rest of UG that they had introduced two years prior wasn’t working by some metric. So all of UG 1-3 (boys) would reside in Bakul, moving to OBH for single rooms after. Consequently, UG2 was stuck in Bakul till they moved to fourth year, and the college tried to get third years who had moved to OBH from Bakul in second year to move back to Bakul for their third year before they would eventually move to OBH for their fourth/fifth years. Mysterious circumstances shroud the events that led to the college not wildly inconveniencing students for once. Also, PG1 would live in OBH and PG2 stay in Bakul for the year, with both PG batches to reside in OBH the coming year.
Given this series of events, one would expect that this decision too be adhered to for at least two years.
Well, no. A mail sent by the Hostel Admin Head announced that the second years (who, according to a poll, have largely grown to love Bakul and its toilets) will have to move to OBH for their third year, and even more shocking (not), they will only have a choice of roommates, and not their wing. UG2k17 residents of Bakul are not very happy. This also means that PG1 and PG2 continue to live separately (PG1 in Bakul and PG2 in OBH).
As of the time of writing, efforts are being made to resolve the matter.
IIIT Messes and Data
Since the beginning of March this semester, all the messes have been maintaining registers containing comprehensive data about the messes. Previously, it was not possible to know how many people had actually eaten a meal in the mess on a particular day, as not everyone swiped their electronic id cards, some students just checked out their roll number on the list kept at the desk— and there were guests not accounted for. The messes decided to keep plate counts to overcome this. They also keep track of the day’s wastage and kitchen wastage. However, this data is handwritten in registers and not computerised and therefore is hard to analyse.
If this data was computerised, it could be used to obtain interesting information, like how much of IIIT skips breakfast, which food item is wasted the most, etc, and possibly aid towards positive change in the management of the messes.
Since the Institute is being called to blame for several of the editorial’s topics, in the interest of fair representation we sent an email to the Hostel Admin Head and the Dean (A), requesting a response to the points raised. The Hostel Admin Head responded, and we quote it in its entirety:
Refer your mail regarding publishing content related to the issues mentioned below, I would like to bring out broadly which are co-related to the administration and student community at large.
(1) Removing of washing machines from the hostels citing rising maintenance: I am extremely sorry to say that this was misinterpreted by end users as a burden for administration part. Since my joining wef 12 Dec 2018 I take this opportunity to address these issues in large with focus on student comfort and its ownership by the students. As per the AMC of washing machines which institute had paid RS 4,39,000/- annually for effective on site maintenance for IFB appliances. The ibid contract signed between vendor and student parliament directly ensuring the ownership of the machines and its operability. Dear students one thing you have to ensure that the success of Admin lies solely with effective participation of students to make trouble free services for their comfort. The running of heavy duty washing machines depends on many parameters which includes usage of right detergent as prescribed by the vendor, water density/scalability which is most important criteria for life span of the machine, frequent downtime due to technical errors like improper operation which effects PCB , repetitive malfunctioning due to inner drum failure,apart from this the machine specified as 10 kg heavy duty no student can ensure that the cycle he uses may be less than 10 kg for which machine consumes same energy levels and water for its standard functioning. The hostel administration along with student parliament discussed these issues in depth during Council Of wardens meeting and the committee never in the stand of removing this facility.They are in the idea of introducing outsourced vendor for these services where student can save lot of time like as estimated 40 minutes per cycle, , CAPEX and OPEX there by ensuring the laundry services with out downtime/waiting for vendor to respond our complaint.
(2) To reiterate , any action motivated by some intention and accompanied by desire for its fruits is undoubtedly a great task to achieve as per the policy is concerned. when you mean and say this is bad, the mind gets conditioned to look for difficulty in opportunity. And when you say this good , the mind looks for opportunity in difficulty. And therein lies the difference between winners and losers.For true success in life , develop the habit of perseverance. Perseverance pays,when success seems elusive do not give up. Do not blame anyone. Persevere.If you do that, success is sure to come.
(3) While closing this discussion, it is important to note that we can truly manage our thoughts only by practising detachment.If we are too attached to possession our thoughts will always evade management and we will remain unfocused.We suffer because we fail to understand that the world does not move as per our wish. Hope you all understand our concern to move forward with some other option but as per your wish we could retain the same system with ownership of the system. Let us make this system truly genuine and I insist you all take active part in this much discussed issue for your comfortable stay during your academic pursuit. May god bless you all and I on behalf of team hostel admin wish you a happy learning.
Zubair Abid, Mahathi Vempati
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