Repeal the Suspension of 2nd Year Students of IITRAM

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Facts:

Every year in almost every college in India, 2nd year students organize a Freshers’ Party to welcome the new students. The 2nd year students of IITRAM, Ahmedabad, did the same. For the selection of Mr. Fresher and Ms. Fresher, the 153 newcomers were invited to give a written test. 50 students qualified for the personal interview.

The personal interviews were held on 11th September, 2018. During this interaction, the 1st year students shared their views on a variety of topics, and were asked to briefly display their talents and skills in various fields (e.g. dancing, yoga, fitness, etc.). This interaction was held in the Reading Room of the institute (6th floor). The authorities of IITRAM have the CCTV footage of this interaction.

On 1st October, 2018, a notice declared the suspension of 23 students from classes and other academic resources of the university on account of their 'misconduct'. They were ordered to vacate the hostels within 48 hours, till the inquiry was completed. These students were not given an opportunity to explain what happened, and were treated as ‘guilty until proven innocent’. They were asked to report in college at 11:30 a.m. on 3rd October, 2018.

On 3rd October, a committee comprising the Director, Dean, Associate Dean, Hostel Wardens, two parent representatives and a student representative was called. They conducted an inquiry of 26 students (23 declared + 3 more), to find out about what happened at the Freshers’ Party. This inquiry lasted till around 9 pm on that day. After the inquiry, the students requested for permission to stay in the hostel for one night, since the inquiry had extended for much longer than expected (almost 10 hours), and 48 hours had elapsed. Some of the students were not from Gujarat, and did not have the money or resources to find immediate shelter elsewhere. This request was denied, and students were threatened to be locked behind bars if they refused to vacate immediately. The institute also refused to take responsibility in case of any mishap that occurred to any of the suspended students.

On 4th October, 2018, the three additional students who were called into the inquiry were also suspended. The 26 students were not allowed to use hostel and mess facilities until the authorities could come to a final decision. During this time, they were barred from giving their mid semester examinations. The authorities were supposedly defending the 1st year students, but when asked, not one of the students believed that the punishment given to the 2nd year students was appropriate.

After 19 days of the inquiry, on Monday, 22nd October, 2018, the institute declared its decision:

  1. Five students were suspended for the duration of two semesters
  2. Sixteen students were suspended for the duration of one semester
  3. Five students received three weeks suspension

On Wednesday, 24th October, 2018, many parents met with the Registrar, Director and Director General of the institute to discuss about this unwarranted decision. The parents insisted on seeing the video footage which was being used as evidence against these students. They found nothing in the video which indicated that 1st year students were mistreated. There was no video evidence to support the harsh allegations made against the students. At the end of the day, the parents were told that the Board of Governors of the institute would review the matter soon.

 

Update on Friday, 26th October, 2018:

Several articles were published in the newspapers, stating that the 26 students of IITRAM were suspended for ragging. False news is being spread that close to 150 students in the first year were ragged. Five students are specifically called 'notorious' in the article on page 3 of Times of India, Ahmedabad. This has caused public humiliation and mental trauma to the 26 students and their families.

Even though the institute has an Anti Ragging Committee,

(http://iitram.ac.in/Anti_Ragging_Committee)

the notice of the suspension was issued by the Disciplinary Committee.

(http://iitram.ac.in/Disciplinary_Committee)

Proof of this can be seen in the picture at the top. Strangely enough, the Disciplinary Committee has been formed in the last five days.

Why is the Disciplinary Committee passing the suspension notice if it is a case of ragging? If it was ragging, the Anti Ragging Committee should have been involved.

 

Our Opinion:

These students were treated like criminals even before the final verdict. They were forced to experience severe mental pressure for no major fault at all. The authorities have been wrong to mistreat these students, and pass such strong punishments.

This decision was highly disappointing, as most of the suspended students were good pupils actively involved in extracurricular activities, with no previous record of bullying or harassment. Such a decision ruins the career of 22 students with great potential.

The students of IITRAM appeal to everyone to sign this petition, so that the Board of Governors may reconsider this decision.

The aim of all educational institutions should be to bring out the best in students by constantly supporting and guiding them, but this will not happen by suspending students (who have not even committed a grave mistake). Compulsory, monitored social service and regular counselling sessions shall be the most appropriate corrective measure for students who commit unintentional petty offences. To help these students, let us unite, and bring them out of their misery through this petition.



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