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  • Hiyaneijemmy Das

VC meets SJF, agrees to conduct Annual Socio-Economic Survey

Following a meeting between the Social Justice Forum (SJF), the Student Government (SG), and the administration on Monday, April 1, two of the three of the SJF’s initial demands have received verbal approval. These include the organisation of an annual Ambedkar Memorial lecture series and amendments to the late fee payment policy. The administration has also agreed to an annual socio-economic survey, which will include caste without being exclusively caste-based

The meeting was attended by the Vice-Chancellor (VC), Somak Raychaudhury; Pro VC, Eshwara Venkatesam; Dean of VC’s Office, Aniha Brar; Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives, and Financial Aid, Vineet Sabharwal; and Vice President of External Engagement, Ali Imran, among other members of the administration and faculty. 

Amendments to the fee policy involve moving away from punitive action and revising policies like the Rs. 200 late payment fee, revoked access to food, and blocked email IDs. 

The annual survey will be the mandate of the Equal Opportunities Cell. It is unclear whether the survey will be mandatory or not. Rhea, a member of the SJF, said that the forum hoped for a mandatory, anonymous survey that only asks respondents which constitutional categories of caste they belong to and does not ask them their caste in particular. 

The SJF has submitted a proposal to the administration for affirmative action targets in line with their initial demands which started the protest. It advocates for a need-based and caste-aware financial aid process, as opposed to the current need-based caste-blind system. The forum is also pushing for greater diversity in Ashoka’s Financial Aid Department. 

The administration agreed to present and advocate for the SJF’s proposal at the next Governing Body meeting, which is slated to happen within the next two months.

*All statements in this article have been given by members of the Social Justice Forum (SJF).

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