Clerical Error in Forms Causes Uproar in IIT Madras

Students protest controversial rules in institute forms. Institute claims clerical error. 

2 min read
Indian Institute of Technology (Madras). (Photo Courtesy: <i>The News Minute</i>)

Students at the Indian Institute of Technology (Madras) were in for a shock last week when the college administration issued “new documents” which stated that no political activity will be allowed in the campus.

The notice, dated January 31, was allegedly issued by the hostel authorities, and had rules asking first year students to not do anything that would tarnish the institute’s image and keep away from political activities inside the campus.

I shall not take part in any activity that will adversely affect the image of the Institute. I undertake not to indulge in any political activity within the campus of the Institute as it is against the apolitical nature of the Institute.
The document

Warden Denies

The new document given to the students.  (Photo Courtesy: <i>The News Minute</i>)
The new document given to the students. (Photo Courtesy: The News Minute)

However, K Sethupathi, Chairman, Council of Wardens, called it a clerical error while issuing the forms to new students.

Usually at the time of admission, students are asked to sign a form containing the honour code of IIT Madras and two anti-ragging rules. But the wrong form issued to the students created confusion in the institute.

In 2015 similar clauses were included and then withdrawn after student protests. The rejected documents got included in the application this time and that is the reason for the confusion. The form uploaded online has no such clauses and the students have been asked to use only those forms. I have personally sent a clarification mail last week asking the students not to sign the old document.
K Sethupathi, Chairman, Council of Wardens

A student on condition of anonymity told The News Minute that he was one of the few people who got the document and had refused to sign.

The statements in the circular are ambiguous and the college can take these open statements to its own advantage. It is a potential threat to any student who is facing issues with the management. 
K Sethupathi, Chairman, Council of Wardens

Justin, a PhD student at the institute and a member of the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle said that this new rule posed a danger.

It was issued by the hostel authorities and only to the first year students. According to me, they are trying to ask students to stop forming groups to address a single issue of an individual. They want us to come individually so that it is easy for them to handle the issue to their favour without any external pressure from student group.
Justin, a PhD student

Students of IIT have been planning to form an alternate student union to tackle the issues, he added.

(Sarayu Srinivasan works with The News Minute.)

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