Friday, October 08, 2004

Dhande's mail to all

From sgd@iitk.ac.in Fri Oct 8 02:21:20 2004
Date: Thu, 7 Oct 2004 00:56:18 +0530
From: Dr.S.G.Dhande
To: all@lists.iitk.ac.in
Cc: sgd@iitk.ac.in, cnrrao@jncasr.ac.in
Subject: [All] Present Campus Situation and Notice for an Emergency General
Meeting

INDIAN INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY KANPUR
 
Director's Office
 
October 6, 2004
 
To:        All Students, Faculty and Staff
 
From:    Sanjay G. Dhande
 
Dear All:
 
I am pained to write this note bringing to the attention of the campus
community, the series of events that have unfolded in front of us in the last 4 - 5
days. The situation became tense starting with an incident in Udgosh on Saturday. A
basketball match was going on between the female teams from Chandigarh and Jabalpur.
Some students  were watching the match and hooting very forcefully.
First, the referees tried to move the group away from the boundary line. Since the
provocation continued, a group of students from Chandigarh team charged on the group
which was hooting at the players. One student of IITK, Avijit Singh, received
some blows as he fell down. He went away to the nearest PCO and sat on a bench there.
After some time, he started walking towards his hall of residence VIII. On the way
back, he met the Sports Secretary and told him about the incident. The Secretary
looked at his condition and found it to be not serious in any way. He requested
him to be forgiving in the approach. In the mean time, the match was held up for
some time. The Dean of Students appealed to all to remain quite. The match was
resumed and completed duly.
 
After some time, it was found out that the room where Chandigarh students
were staying in Hall 3 was ransacked. The baggage of the visitors was thrown
out on the lawns. Their shoes were thrown on the roof. When these students came,
they were shocked to see the room. The visitors had some words with the students.
However, the situation did not calm down. The visitors closed the doors and
remained inside.
Students who were outside on the lawns, started throwing stones and
flower pots on the window panes. The window panes were broken. Some garbage was
thrown in front of the room door. The Dean of Students and Deputy Director along
with Faculty Advisor of Udgosh arrived on the scene. The visitors expressed
concern for their security. A decision was taken to move them to the PBCEC hall
in VH.
 
The behavior of the visitors was certainly not above reproach. The behavior of IITK
students in the incidents that followed was equally uncivilized. A review meeting was
held in VH around mid-night. As this meeting was in progress, a large crowd of students gathered in front of VH and squatted on the road. In the beginning, the crowd was focusing the attention on addressing the issues arising out of the bad behavior of visitors. However, at some point in the night, the demand changed to condemnation of DOSA. Students started shouting "DOSA RESIGN". As situation became tense, the Director was requested to take charge of the situation around
4:00 AM. The Director arrived in ten minutes, reviewed the situation with the committee
in VH lounge and agreed to address the crowd.
 
The Director requested, appealed and pointed out that all students should move
to the lawns of Director's residence and keep the road open for traffic. However, the
crowd remained adamant and demanded that DOSA should resign right there. Several charges were aired in public. The Director responded that decisions should not be made on the streets. He pleaded all to remain composed and think about all the issues in proper perspective. The crowd still remained adamant. At some point, DOSA came forward and said that since he does not see any faith reposed in him by students, he would like to resign and put in his papers. The students
said that they still want to say a few things. At that point, the Director once again requested them to move to the lawns. The crowd moved to the lawns. Students expressed their views. Most of the discussion moved away from the incidents of the night to the insensitive attitude of the administration, in general, and DOSA, in particular. The Director assured that all views expressed in the gathering will be considered very very seriously and carefully.
 
Sunday was the last day of the sports festival. The Chandigarh team was requested not to participate in the events further. For the performance of the team upto that point in time, appropriate rewards in terms of certificates and medals were given.
All other sports events were completed on Sunday and the festival was concluded.
 
The student body kept on discussing the matter over the news group. In fact, it can
be seen that the turn of events from "match incidents" to "DOSA resign" occurred due to a series of inflammatory postings on the news group. It is indeed a case of collecting a crowd by arousing emotions and inflaming the crowd. The lack of event management skills on the part of student gymkhana also contributed to some lapses that resulted in this situation. In stead of accepting the responsibilities on the functionaries of student bodies, DOSA was targeted. It has been also found out that some actions and decisions of DOSA have bothered the student community.
Also, some comments of DOSA have hurt the students. However, not a single student came to other authorities like Dy. Director or Director. The administration was not given any breathing space to rectify any situation. The entire frustration has erupted in the form of demanding the resignation of a functionary for following rules, enforcing rules and improving the sports standards of the Institute.
 
This is the first time in the history of the Institute that a section of the campus
community goes after a functionary targeting him or her. It is indeed a sad and alarming situation. If such practices are permitted, one can "gherao" an authority and demand for resignation of any institute functionary. It demoralizes the entire faculty who participates in several tasks. Many members of faculty have already expressed their indignation and a desire to relinquish their present posts. It will create a situation in the Institute which will break the fabric of participative administration. Students are as much responsible for decision-making as faculty or other officials. They are in several committees. Their views are heard in IAC as well as Academic Senate. The student senate also is empowered to give some feedback and
take decisions.
 
I was hoping that the student body will calm down and introspect on the actions and thinking of theirs. A general body meeting of students was held today. I am told that they have absolved all student functionaries for the shameful incidents of Saturday night and targeted DOSA for his approach of administration.
 
I am appealing to all campus community - students, faculty and staff - with folded hands
that let us come forward and bring some positive vibrations in the environment. We all love this Institute. We all are proud of our Institute. It is this love and pride that motivates us to work for this Institute. We want to see our students happy, healthy and scholarly in their thinking as well as actions. If any one from administration or faculty has erred by omission, I beg for forgiveness. It is the support of you all that makes me move forward. My colleagues and students are given full freedom to act as per the ethos of the Institute. It is quite likely that some of us hold different approaches. Even then we need to work together and show to the country and world at large that this Institute is proud of binding faculty and students together even if the views are different. We can openly meet and understand each other. We can discuss
all the issues thread bare. We can give our utmost to bridge the so called gap between
faculty and students. However, I appeal to the student community to give all of us a chance to correct this explosive situation on hand.
 
I request all of you to come for a general meeting on October 7, 2004 at 6:00 PM in L-7. I would like to explain the situation. I do not wish to defend and hold any egoistic position. As a teacher, I wish to see that the happiness of the students is the ultimate satisfaction that I can desire in my work. No group should not be harsh on any individual. If views are expressed and if corrections are made, it creates a far more positive environment rather removing people from their posts of duty. We are all intelligent people. Let us also be compassionate in resolving our differences. I am ready to make whatever sacrifice I have to make, to uphold the honor and prestige of the Institute. Please remember that our Institute is held in high esteem by the society. They look up to us for leadership. If there is any aberration, let us all work
together to correct it.
 
I hope I will get a chance to communicate with you.

Sincerely,
 
Sanjay G. Dhande
 


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