IIT-Bombay takes inclusive step: Student bodies to have LGBTQI+ members
MUMBAI: Eight years after its existence on the campus, IIT-Bombay’s resource group for LGBTQI+ community-Saathi-is all set to get official representation on the campus. Saathi, which has been advocating for an inclusive campus since 2011, will get a say in hostel affairs and cultural councils of the institute. The inclusion was part of the recent amendment to the students’ affairs’ council Constitution, meant for the campus.
IIT-B may be among the few institutions to have official LGBTQI+ representation in their students’ body. The representation will give them better access to the institute’s administration in planning activities and getting their demands met.
A Saathi representative said that the institute has always been supportive of their initiatives, and now, the representation has been ‘constitutionalised’. While the decision was taken at a meeting in March, the official word came out last month. The group has been deliberating on a proposal for long and has decided to have representatives in the hostel affairs and cultural councils.
“As IIT-B is a residential campus, we wanted to focus on creating awareness in and around hostels. Our immediate plan is to conduct gender and sexuality awareness sessions and workshops at the campus.Our agenda is to create as much awareness as possible,” said the student. The group will also push for panel discussions or talks on mental health of queer individuals.
“To hold any event, we have to first approach the cultural council and then seek approval from the dean of students’ affairs.
Having nominees in the council will make procuring approvals quicker,” said another student. When asked about having a gender-neutral hostel on the campus, like TISS, the student said IIT-B still has a long way to go. “It has come up in our discussions. Infrastructural changes are on our wish list, but right now we are focussing on nominating individuals for the councils,” he said.
A student from one of the official bodies on the campus said apart from working closely with the administration, the group is likely to get a separate budget for their planned activities. An official from the institute said Saathi was recognised on the campus, unlike some other informal groups. “Now they will be part of the students’ decision-making bodies,” he said.