Inappropriate to ask JEE Advanced or GATE score: IIT Bombay adopts anti-discrimination guidelinestext_fields
Mumbai: The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) has recently issued anti-discrimination guidelines to its students, emphasizing the importance of fostering an inclusive environment on campus.
The institute has instructed its students that it is “inappropriate” to ask other students about their JEE Advanced rank or GATE score or any other information that may reveal caste or other related aspects.
The move comes several months after IIT Bombay faced scrutiny over alleged caste-based discrimination on campus following the tragic death of a first-year student, Darshan Solanki.
The notification on anti-discrimination guidelines made public by the institute ahead of the new academic year, states that asking rank could appear like “an attempt to find the caste and may set the stage for discrimination”.
“While the student asking the question may feel it is innocent and it may be driven purely by curiosity, asking the question can often have an adverse impact on the other student,” states the notification, adding that the institute wants students to bond with each other irrespective of factors such as caste, religion or socio-economic status.
The notification has been circulated among students through various channels and prominently displayed at different locations on campus, especially in the hostel areas.
Darshan's tragic suicide had raised concerns about various forms of caste-based discrimination prevailing on IIT campuses, with the question of asking JEE ranks being a primary issue.
For instance, knowing a student's rank might indicate whether they were admitted on a reserved category seat, potentially leading to discriminatory behaviours. Darshan’s senior and his sister had alleged that after knowing his rank, Darshan’s roommate had reduced interacting with him.
The new guidelines also prohibit the exchange of messages, including jokes, that are abusive, hateful, casteist, sexist, or exhibit bigotry based on religion or sexual orientation. Violations of these guidelines may result in severe punishments.
The anti-discrimination guideline in the notification by the institute urges that “introduction, interaction or bonding of friends happens through commonalities like departments, sports, music, movies, schools, college, village, city, town, hobbies etc.”
According to students, this is a first when the institute is actually communicating on what constitutes to discrimination on campus.
The institute administration, however, clarified, “Each year, in the orientation session for new Under Graduate (UG) and Post Graduate (PG) entrants, various institute bodies/cells have always emphasized the zero-tolerance policy that IIT Bombay follows towards any form of discrimination. Each hostel and department/centre too have had posters from various cells. This year, the content from various cells, posters/orientations, in the context of anti-discrimination, has been compiled into one poster. This is also being circulated by the institute towards both new and existing students.”