To Free or Not to Free: A Re-look at our Rules


CORRIGENDUM – InsIghT Issue 13.3, April 2011
Certain issues regarding ‘To Free or Not to Free: A Re-look at our Rules’ have come to light following the release of our latest edition, 13.3.  The entry against ‘Alcohol Allowed?’ for IIM-B should read ‘No, but not strictly implemented. The entries against ‘Campus entry’ for guests’ for IIT-B should read ‘Till 11 pm without permission and with prior permission after that’ and for IIM-B should read ‘Till 5:30 pm without permission and with prior permission after that’

The line ‘It has absolutely no curfews, and when it comes to alcohol, they actually have official parties organized every 15 days!’ should read ‘It has absolutely no curfews, and when it comes to alcohol, they actually have parties organized every 15 days!’

We apologise for the same.

 

How many of us have cursed our fates for being fined for being caught with that bottle of fine whiskey? What about when we’ve tried sneaking in that special someone into our rooms at night? Over the past year there have been quite a few new rules imposed on us that have raised quite a few eyebrows. This trend here almost led to a ‘black t-shirt protest’ in one case, when a rule was passed against “holding hands in dark places at unearthly hours”. To get some perspective, we thought we would see how some of our counterparts in other colleges here and abroad were faring.

Us and Them

First, we took up some of the issues that most of us hold close to our hearts in college, and looked at the corresponding regulation in some of the other contemporary institutions.

Looking at the table below, we notice that we are actually much better off than most other colleges in India. In SRCC, students aren’t allowed to complain about the hostel administration, and actually face the threat of being removed from the hostel if they do so. New students there would wonder if they had just stepped into China! On the other hand, an institute like IIM-Bangalore lies at the other end of the spectrum. It has absolutely no curfews, and when it comes to alcohol, they actually have official parties organized every 15 days!

These rules were also compared with some of the universities in the US. For example, in University of Texas, Austin, which is not a walled campus, ONLY state laws have to be followed. In fact, the local bus service there has a special bus running from bars downtown to various locations where students live so they can come home safe – they even keep barf bags in them! Students there, work five days a week and take the other two days completely off. This ingrained culture, and the high cost of education, ensures that people act quite responsibly. According to Gautam Salhotra, an IITB alumnus at Univ. of Texas, Austin, their college system is better than ours, “in the sense that you get all the freedom and the responsibility, so you learn to balance things from early on”. Whether this is achievable in India, given our current mindset and culture, is debatable.

Introspecting

We thought we would check out a couple of our own regulations in a bit more detail:

Internet ban – A few years ago, the institute blocked LAN from 12 am to 7 am, breaking the hearts of scores of nocturnal gamers and “social networkers”. However, while a partial LAN ban to prevent gaming addiction might be justified, is it the same with internet? Today, the internet has become almost a necessity for any sort of work to be done well and computer rooms just don’t cut it here, for various reasons. These range from the effort involved in going there and in transferring data, to the number and condition of the computers there. Chatting and time spent on social networks is the other reason provided. While this may increase if the ban is lifted, the number of people influenced, and the amount they are influenced to, just does not justify the ban on internet at night.

Alcohol policy – Yes, we all know alcohol may not be in our “best interests”. But, it is a very important part of college life, and freedom to drink above the age limit is recognized as state law. Now, given the fact that we have a large population of students below the legal drinking age of 21, in addition to the fact that we are a government educational institute, it seems understandable that the institute forbids alcohol within the premises. However, of late, there have been many instances of people being fined, just for being drunk on campus. If these people are disturbing the peace, or causing damage to property, that has to be dealt with separately. Being drunk, in itself, should not be a criterion to be fined. Thus, this is also a rule that requires a re-look.

A last thought

Now, all rules that liberalize, seek to increase student freedom, which implicitly recognizes more maturity in students. On the other hand, institutes like IIT impose certain (somewhat reasonable) restrictions “in the interest of students”, when they feel that students do not have the required sense to exercise that freedom (like the partial LAN ban). However, there is a need to continuously review our rules so that students are given as much freedom as possible, keeping in mind the mentality of this age group, ensuring that all of us are kept aware and satisfied. ■

Rule IIT-B IIT-K SRCC, Delhi BITS-Goa IIM-B
LAN BAN 12am – 7am LAN BAN: 12am – 6am;Internet Ban: None They do not have LAN nor internet None; 50MB/day download limit None
Alcohol allowed? No No No, but not strictly implemented No Yes
Curfew No; Sign in after 12 am None 7 pm for girls; 11 pm for guys 10:30 pm None
Hostel entry for opp. sex Till 10 pm Till 12 am Even interaction frowned upon Not allowed Anytime
Campus entry for guests Till 11 pm Till 12 am - - Anytime
Campus entry for alumni Till 11 pm Anytime; but no hostel entry - - Anytime
Private vehicles No No - No, not even cycles Yes

 

For further details contact Aditya Prasad, Anirudh Rao, Rajat Chakravarty, Rogers Joseph and Yohan Mathew at adityaprasad1990@gmail.com, anurao100@gmail.com , rajatisgreat@gmail.com, ropjos@gmail.com and y.math5@gmail.com respectively.