The IIT Bombay has issued a set of guidelines, which bans exchanging or forwarding hateful, casteist messages or jokes, after the institute came under the radar for caste-based discrimination on campus.
Interestingly, the guidelines also prohibit students from asking other students about their JEE Advanced rank or GATE score. The move comes two months after the suicide of first-year student Darshan Solanki allegedly over caste discrimination issues.
As per the guideline, the students should not forward or exchange messages, including jokes that are abusive, hateful, casteist or sexist. The same applies to messages that exhibit bigotry based on religion or sexual orientation. These can be construed as harassment or bullying and violation can lead to severe punishment.
Students are also prohibited from posting such messages on social media platforms.
With regard to asking fellow students about JEE Advanced rank or GATE score, the guidelines call them inappropriate. "It is equally inappropriate for students to ask others their JEE ranks/GATE scores… While the student asking the question may feel it is innocent and it may be driven by curiosity, asking the question may have an adverse impact on the other student," the guidelines read.
Besides, the notification also encourages introduction, interaction or bonding of friends through commonalities like departments, sports, music, movies, schools, college, villages, city, town, hobbies etc.
Though the institute had verbally hinted against such practices before, including asking ranks, this is probably the first time that it is issuing guidelines against discriminatory practices. Though last year, there were norms against ridiculing and mocking students based on reservations, the norms were not as explicit as this year's. However, the punishments aren't mentioned clearly in the guidelines.
According to a spokesperson from the institute, each hostel and department/centre too came up with posters. "This year, the content from various cells’ posters/orientations, in the context of anti-discrimination, has been compiled into one poster and is being circulated for both new and existing students," the spokesperson told The Times Of India.