Know Your Representatives

Know Your Representatives

The Institute Standing Disciplinary Committee (ISDC) and the Senate are two of the most important administrative bodies of our institute. Knowing the implication of its steps, the institute chooses five student representative (two for Senate and three for ISDC) every year, to act as a chain between the student fraternity and the administration. 

The recently concluded online Autumn semester 2020-21 demanded the presence of Student representatives more than ever considering a range of issues students wanted to raise and sought clarifications like the semester fees, assessment and examination mode, functioning of online classes etc. While the Senate still conducted proceedings earlier on since the semester’s inception before selecting student representatives,  applications were sought and student nominees were finally disclosed on 10th November for the ensuing academic year. Meenakshi Panigrahi and Tushar Tiwari are the senate representatives for this year while Bellana Avinash Naidu, Subham Ranjan Sahoo and Jasmin Nayak are nominees to the ISDC. 

Team Monday Morning interviewed the student representatives for the current session. Read on to know more about them.

Monday Morning (MM): Tell us something about the student representatives’ role in the Senate.

Meenakshi Panigrahi: The Senate representative is a final year student chosen by the Senate’s concerned members to recognize students’ representation in the Senate. The Nominee acts as a bridge between the administration and the students. 

MM: Tell us something about the role of the student representatives in the ISDC.

Bellana Avinash Naidu: After a struggle of two years to crack JEE, the students feel complacent once they enter their 'dream' institute. They have mixed perceptions of their rights and responsibilities. Deeds of indiscipline are bound to happen. The victim of such acts could be anyone from a student to the whole institute. Hence an attempt has been made to curb such actions and ensure they are not repeated further. This is the sole grail of the disciplinary committee ISDC at NIT Rourkela. The responsibility of maintaining discipline has been bestowed on the shoulders of the Director. He needs the assistance of senators, faculty, and student representatives to ensure the institute’s conduct is to the point. Any pressing issue of indiscipline is first discussed and investigated by ISDC, and depending on the magnitude of the act, the committee takes a collective decision.

A student representative being both a member of the committee and a fellow student ought to understand both perceptions and make his contribution to the decision taken by the committee. The decision is then discussed in the Senate, and the Director can reduce the magnitude of punishment after due discussion but not increase it. Considering limited counselling services at counselling use, ISDC is often compelled to punish the student. Still, it is not an act of vengeance but an attempt to make sure any other student does not repeat it. The committee’s objective is to investigate and instil discipline through persuasion and understanding and make students aware of the rules the institute is ought to follow. 

Jasmin Nayak:  The role of student representatives in ISDC comes into play when an act of indiscipline is committed by someone or a group of students. Based on the facts, the student representatives place their opinion on behalf of the student community such that justice is granted by the collective decision of faculty as well as students. However, I would also like to point out here that the ultimate decision lies in the hands of the Senate and the Director himself. In short, it is a court where we act as defence lawyers.

Subham Ranjan Sahoo: The ISDC handles all major in-disciplinary acts which have serious repercussions or need a special investigation. As a member of this committee, the student representative plays a pivotal role in investigating the complaints, searching for evidence, hearing out the accused student’s views, and recommending further actions/ punishments to the committee. Since a student can better understand and deal with another student’s concerns, that's where a student nominee gets the upper hand in the whole process. 

MM: What motivated you to apply for this position?

Meenakshi: In the current pandemic situation, many issues are being faced both on the parts of the administration and the students with several hindrances. I wished to act as a moderator that may make the decision-making and implementation process a bit easier.

Tushar Tiwari (TT): Mainly, the student issue and academic-related problems motivate me to join this student representative position. 

Bellana Avinash: Persuading and understanding people has always been my piece of cake. Zonal politics and ragging have always been pressing issues not only on our campus but this has behaved ritual in almost every campus. But things have changed since my first year. The administration has been stringent in these issues, and eventually, the magnitude of ragging has decreased. Being a person who has always maintained a distance from ragging and encouraged "true" interaction between seniors, I always wanted to contribute before I pass out of my institute. But a small proportion of the student group believes that a person who has been ragged is the dominant species and is more deserving than any other to be the beholder of any post. This was not in correlation with my ideology, so I have always distanced myself from such unhealthy politics. Discipline is something that has driven me throughout my stay at the institute. Considering the selection of student representatives for ISDC is solely in the administration’s hands and aware that this would be the only opportunity I could grab and contribute, I decided to apply. It is an honoured part of the committee. 

Jasmin Nayak:  NIT Rourkela is a place where we can find students from all over India and abroad and from different backgrounds, and every individual has a varying perception of their rights and responsibilities, Dos and Don’ts. Thus, even if they have committed an act of indiscipline, each one must be entitled to a proper defence to be their voice such that the deciding committee also hears their mindset and their story. Thus, the motivating factor for me to help my peers and juniors.

Subham Ranjan: In my opinion, discipline is the most important trait required to strive ahead without inviting miseries into your life. Since my childhood, I have tried to follow the disciplinary ethos. This institute is home to thousands of students. Maintaining an egalitarian and peaceful atmosphere for scholastic development is of utmost importance. They bear the responsibilities of fulfilling their dreams and their parents’ aspirations. Moving out of the homes into the hostel gives students infinite freedom, and sometimes misutilization of this freedom leads to unwanted situations for them and their fellow mates. Through this, I wanted to take the opportunity to inculcate similar values in my friends, seniors, and juniors and also indirectly help them to have a well-regulated life and a smooth journey at the campus.

MM: How was the selection process, and what advice would you give to future aspirants?

Meenakshi: The selection process included an application, the format of which was shared by Dean Student Welfare, Prof. Snehashish Chakraverty. Only final year students with a CGPA higher than 8.5 were eligible to apply. Then the applicants were interviewed by a panel, through which the final results were declared. 

I was asked to share my opinions regarding some institute rules and regulations that were made recently and explain my views during the interview. My explanations were entirely satisfactory to the panel.

For future aspirants, I will suggest maintaining a good CGPA to be eligible to apply as they want candidates who can balance academics and extracurriculars. One should be aware of the institute’s various rules, especially relating to academics, and be aware of the students’ opinions.  

Tushar: The selection process was fair. They hired from two stages. One is the screening round, and the second is an interview. They hire those candidates who have some leadership quality. 

Bellana Avinash:  The selection process was pretty simple. Students are notified about the requirement of student representatives for both Senate and ISDC  through a group mail. The application demands a CGPA cutoff, which is 8.5 this year. The aspirants are required to give their details and conduct history at NIT Rourkela. The application asks for a statement of purpose. This is an essential element of the process. It helps the selection committee peek into your background and interests, almost your application’s narrative. Once this is done, the student is supposed to get it attested by the faculty advisor and some remarks from the same. Submission of the document will now make you a nominee for the post. Post this, you are called for an interview. For this, I would advise future aspirants to make sure they are well aware of our institute’s basic academic rules and regulations and the existence of a disciplinary manual.

Jasmin: Only final year students with CGPA >=8.5 are eligible to apply. They should have a clean track record, i.e., should never have faced ISDC punishment or grade back due to attendance shortage. A form circulated by Dean Student Welfare should be filled and signed by their respective Faculty Advisors. Then they are called for an interview by a panel consisting of The Registrar, Dean Academic Activity and, Dean Student Welfare.

Subham Ranjan: The CGPA criteria to apply for the same is 8.5. Hence, interested students need to fill the form. They ask you for your statement of purpose and what makes you better than others.

Followed by that, there is an interview whose panel mostly consists of Dean of Student Welfare, Dean of Academic Activity, and Chief Warden. Needless to say, if you aspire for this post, try to have a good CGPA well above cutoff. Having good extracurriculars and academics will help you, and holding some critical positions of responsibility will increase your chances of selection. The panel will generally try to put you in various stress situations that may come up as a student nominee. You will be judged based on your creative solution and ability to answer their cross-questions calmly. Also, they search for a fearless personality who would not get biased during his tenure.

MM: Tell us something about your USPs that made you stand out in the selection process.

Tushar:  I made a recent COVID-19 related issue to the academic for my interview. The academic of NITR is affected by this pandemic and student have faced many problems during the online classes and problems related to internet connectivity. The second reason is due to this pandemic situation NIRF ranking of NIT Rourkela would reduce which is a reason of concern.

Bellana Avinash: Awareness of our institute’s basic academic rules and regulations, which helped me answer a few questions in the interview and frank responses to other questions, have probably helped me in the selection process. Clarity on the role and the ability to deliver a frank opinion on any question has made me outshine in the selection process.

Jasmin: Throughout my career in NIT Rourkela, I have balanced my academic and extracurricular activities well. I have a decent CGPA and have been a disciplined student throughout. I was one of the six branch change candidates in my batch in which branch change was introduced. I had also emerged as Women of Mettle scholar organized by Tata Steel. I have the experience of working in various fests, MUNs, etc.

Subham Ranjan: I tried to stand out from others by showing the number of responsibilities I had held previously and how they have helped me develop the traits that align with this position’s requirement. Albeit these extracurriculars, I have been the branch topper,  thus proving to be capable of handling pressure and challenging situations with ease.

I had been the chief warden nominee, the president of a club, core team member of a fest for which I have a good idea about both the issues in SAC as well as the hostel. I was also the campus ambassador for ‘Schneider Electric’ which helped me collaborate and build a strong network in the student community. All these make me quite confident to execute my responsibility without any prejudice.

MM: What are the issues (both long term and short term) that you plan to put forth in the Senate to benefit students' fraternity?

Meenakshi: There are several issues right now, given the distorted academic calendars and lots of confusion about the reopening of college so that things can get back to normal. This may also disturb the internship and placements for many pre-final and final years. I would be making the administration aware as and when required of the various problems that the students are facing or may face in the future. 

Tushar: I plan to make good academic to all our students and improve the institute’s quality of education & research to a higher level. My basic plan to resolve all academic-related issue of our institute and improve the quality of education and research in the institute. We have to make some work plan for the student issues and work accordingly in a proper manner. Secondly, the mid-semester and end semester exam pattern and schedule have created many problems for the student and we are working on the same. We are striving out in resolving the internship/training related problem that the students are facing. 

MM: How do you plan on making sure that the student's opinions are heard in the Senate?

Meenakshi: Senate meetings are open to the opinions of every member of the Senate. Being a part of the forum will ensure I bring any issue the students face to the members’ attention and the honourable chairman of the senate. 

Tushar: If you put some serious issues and those more significant to the institute and related to faculty members’ teaching, they seriously hear your opinion. 

If you mention some serious issues related to the academic of our institute then the senate hears students opinion. If someone has a problem with professor behaviour and communication issue between faculty members and the student then these affects the education quality of the academic and we have resolved this because without the guidance of faculty member the student cannot grow in the education field. Secondly, the hosteller's rent and mess issue are major in our institute. We have put some key points in the senate meeting and they heard all our opinions seriously.

MM: A Senate meeting was held on November 13. Did you put some issues addressed in the Senate? Overall, how was your experience in that meeting?

Meenakshi: The issues discussed in the last Senate meeting and the decisions made available to everyone through a circular. I would sincerely request everyone to please wait for the notice.

The first meeting was a good experience. I learned about the Senate’s proceedings and was happy to see that equal weightage is given to all members’ opinions.

Tushar: Yes, I put some recent issues related to COVID-19 and issues related to the campus return of the students in the final year. 

My meeting experience is excellent, and I want to work with my full dedication on the student’s behalf.

MM: The freshers(mostly) and subsequent year students are sometimes not aware of the specific rules related to the ISDC. Do you plan on doing something about that?

Bellana Avinash: Unfortunately, many of us are not aware of the complete ruleset of our institute. We must be well aware of the rules and the corresponding disciplinary actions in case of their violation. If we could achieve this, students would put in some effort to make conscious decisions throughout their stay at NIT Rourkela. Reaching out to the freshers is most challenging, considering the present situation. We will try to reach them out through webmail and collaborate with media bodies like Monday Morning.  Mentioning ISDC and disciplinary action in orientation could be a good start, but we are yet to discuss that.

Jasmin: Yes, we plan to introduce them to the disciplinary rules through ICS. So that they are aware of the repercussions of being caught. Many freshers and sophomores live in an illusion often fueled by their seniors that nothing terrible will happen if they flout the rules. They face reality when they are caught, and handling the situation becomes a difficult choice. The students face many URs, backlog which they find difficult to tackle in the future, and some have been rusticated as punishment by ISDC. The experiences of students who have been to ISDC must be known to others.

Subham Ranjan: A well-documented disciplinary manual is available on the website, but students don't bother to go through it owing to its length. I feel providing a short compilation mentioning some of the critical rules that they should be aware of will help them avoid unwanted situations knowingly or unknowingly. Also, during the orientation ceremony for freshers, a short presentation can help make them come across these rules. 

Note: These are the various means through which students can contact the Senate and ISDC representatives.

Senate representatives
Tushar Tiwari-

Meenakshi Panigrahi- Willing to be reached on their contact number and Zimbra mail.

ISDC representatives
Jasmin Nayak-
Bellana Avinash Naidu-
Subham Ranjan

They can also be contacted through their Zimbra mail.

Team Monday Morning wishes all the student representatives the best for performing their duties with sincerity and dignity.

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