An Open House Session was held on 23 March 2018 at 4:30 PM at the Barn Hall in order to discuss issues pertaining to academics, hostel accommodation and various facilities in the institute and the ways to solve them. The meeting was attended by the Director and Dean (Student Welfare), Dean (Planning and Development), Dean (Research and Consultancy), Dean (Alumni Relations), Deputy Chief Warden, Hostel Convener, Associate Deans, executive personnel, CSG support staff, Estate Maintenance staff, the Student Council President, the Vice President and over 120 final year students from UG and PG.
The event started off with the Welcome Note by the Director Mrs. Mini Shaji Thomas, who congratulated the students on winning the Best Innovation Club award at the Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship 2018 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi. She also announced that the Institute had recruited 48 new faculty members and 131 of our faculty members had been promoted. She further added that the Open house would be conducted every month from next semester onwards and also assured that the issues raised at the forum wouldn’t affect the academics of the students.
This was followed by the discussion on various issues raised by the students during the Open House as given below:
Hostel and Transport Amenities
Students projected that the dispensers in their hostels couldn’t meet the water requirements and the lack of water dispensers would affect them in the summer. Despite there being an RO system installed, the water from the dispensers was not pure due to the dispensers themselves being dirty. Another point about the battery vehicles represented was that the lack of adherence to a schedule was prevailing, and the absence of any shade in the road leading to Amber hostel added to the inconvenience. The students of Opal hostel also complained about the lack of mosquito nets in their rooms which was promised 3 years ago.
To this,the administration replied that sufficient measures would be taken to ensure purity of water, with regular checks on the quality of water dispensers. The students were told to check the feasibility of adapting a proposal from IIT Madras. The Students’ Welfare office promised the release of an app for the electric vehicles, which would incorporate GPS tracking and strictly adhere to the schedule. The admin also promised to install mosquito nets in all hostels by next semester.
Grievances of PG students
Students raised questions regarding the high fee for use of lab equipment in other departments and also that B.Tech lab infrastructure was inadequate for students to get hands on experience. Students also complained that their stipends weren’t being sanctioned on time, which was due to individual departments not sending their attendance records on time.
The administration replied that they will review the charges and lower them if possible. They also added that timely stipends would be provided to PG students, and suggested that reminders could be sent to ensure departments submit attendance records by the 5th of every month. A plan to incorporate biometric attendance was also informed.
Issues related to academics
The students represented that there is a lack of any tangible change following the semesterly exercise of faculty feedback. Students also anonymously raised the issue of malpractice in examinations that went unchecked.
The admin acknowledged the lack of substantial change effected by the feedback system, and assured a change in their feedback policy. Students were requested to play a bigger role in the class committee meetings and represent feedback on faculty there. They added that more money had been sanctioned to improve lab facilities for UG students (around 20 lakhs per department) and students should utilize these labs more.
Problems related to extracurricular activities
Few students complained that the flexible curriculum would interfere with club activities of students due to CTs being stretched out, and also that clubs are not informed about administrative processes. They further voiced their concern about insufficient space for club activities as LHC was no more available for club activities. A few clubs raised issues about constraints they faced during the process of reimbursement.
The Dean Students’ Welfare assured that class timings would be maintained within a stipulated limit and measures would be taken to involve more students and workspace for club activities, while also advising that club heads remain in contact with their faculty advisors. Students were asked to coordinate with the student council to ensure that correct procedures are followed.
Harassment related issues
Students also complained about the harassment cases in college. The students called for a sexual harassment helpline to be implemented, and raised points about the complete lack of awareness about the internal complaints committee that deals with such situations. The girls also complained about the fact that they were made to wait outside Opal after curfew and also added that they were subject to verbal abuse from security guards. The girls further complained about the raid in Opal E which left the rooms in tatters.
The admin promised to create a helpline and work towards spreading awareness about sexual harassment in campus after discussions with girls. They assured the inmates of Opal that their bad experiences wouldn’t be repeated again, and raids would be conducted in a more respectful manner.
CSG and Infrastructure issues
Students suggested that important documents like transcripts, NOCs and bonafides be accessible via MIS portal, and reduce a level of redundancy and paperwork. A complaint portal was requested to contact CSG in case of Wi-Fi troubles. The girls also complained that labs were not working in Opal. The students also voiced the fact that lab space in Octa was insufficient when labs and exams were being scheduled.
The CSG vowed to look into the situation and resolve them. Students were told that the new Annexe – 2 would open at the beginning of the next semester, with more than 400 new systems installed.
Students also complained about the monopoly that exists in the shops on campus, where the quality and prices of commodities go unregulated. The admin said it would look into regulating the shops in campus under stricter guidelines.
Training and Placement issues – Suggestions were made regarding the issue as to why students who wanted to pursue higher studies were not allowed to sit for placements. Students who faced difficulties in the placement process also voiced their grievances.
The students were informed that the system would be reviewed further with due discussions with the placement officer and provided feasible solutions.
Other issues –
A student raised a complaint about the poor facilities provided at the hospital, citing numerous negative experiences. The lack of an x-ray machine to diagnose fractured bones, wrong diagnosis and the lack of anti-venom were brought up.
The response from the admin suggested that not much could be done about this as the NITT hospital only served as a primary medical centre which aims to provide first aid. Tie-ups with the hospital at BHEL and Apollo would ensure that more serious cases would be transferred there. However, the admin said it would ensure that anti-venom was available at all times. Students also raised issues about the counsellor, relating to the lack confidentiality and professionalism that was maintained. Students were also promised that admin would speak to counsellor to ensure that their negative experiences won’t be repeated.
After elaborate discussions regarding all the issues in campus, Associate Dean of Alumni Relations Dr. M. Venkata Kirthiga concluded the Open House and advised senior students to tell their juniors to vote in the upcoming Student Council Elections and extend their support to the Council for the betterment of the entire student populace and institute. Even though more responsibility rests with the Council, students should communicate well with the Council and help them.
The session lasted for almost 4 hours, with more than 40 questions and suggestions raised by the students. A variety of issues were spoken about and a lot of changes were promised.
The students were promised that an Open House would be held every month from the next semester, to ensure the timely voicing and resolution of issues.