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In conversation with the President

Disclaimer: The Stephanian Forum does not take any institutional position on its content and would like to inform readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author.

The Forum interviewed the newly elected President of the Students’ Union Society, Konda Sai Aashirvad on 13th September, 2017. The interview was administered by the First Year SF team consisting of Rajat Chandra Mishra, Adreeta Chakraborty, Pranay Krishna, Nitya Chopra, and Sunish Bansal. The team was headed by our Core Team Editor, Ayushi Jha. Read on to know what to expect from the Union this academic year. 

Konda Sai Ashirvad,  SUS President (2017-18)

1. Before​ ​we​ ​talk​ ​about​ ​your​ ​plans​ ​in​ ​the​ ​future​ ​as​ ​ President​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Student​ ​Union,​ ​tell​ ​us​ ​what​ ​you think​ ​made​ ​you​ ​stand​ ​out​ ​during​ ​the​ ​election​ ​campaign.​ ​What​ ​do​ ​you​ ​think​ ​contributed​  ​most to​ ​your​ ​majority​ ​victory?

I​ ​didn’t​ ​expect​ ​that​ ​I​ ​would​ ​win​ ​by​ ​such​ ​a​ ​majority​ ​because​ ​the​ ​competition​ ​was​ ​tough.​ ​The​ ​margin of​ ​188​ ​votes​ ​was​ ​huge.​ ​And​ ​when​ ​I​ ​come​ ​to​ ​think​ ​of ​​what​ ​made​ ​this​ ​possible,​ ​I​ ​realize​ ​that​ ​it​ ​is​ ​my team​ ​that​ ​has​ ​mainly​ ​contributed​ ​to​ ​my​ ​victory.​ ​It​ ​ consists​ ​of​ ​mostly ​Second​ ​and​ ​Third​ ​Years​ ​who have​ ​been​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Union​ ​for​ ​the​ ​past​ ​two​ ​years,​ ​have​ ​been​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​many​ ​other​ ​societies​ ​and​ ​have represented​ ​the​ ​college​ ​in​ ​various​ ​forms.​ ​I​ ​was​ ​also​ apprehensive​ ​if​ ​practicality​ ​in​ ​the​ ​manifesto​ ​will work,​ ​but​ ​it​ ​did​ ​turn​ ​out​ ​to​ ​do​ ​so​ ​in​ ​our​ ​favour.​ ​We​ ​planned​ ​it​ ​really​ ​well​ ​and​ ​our​ ​experience​ ​did​ ​work out​ ​for​ ​us.

2. Many first years are​ ​curious about​ ​the​ ​powers​ ​of​ ​the​ ​SUS​.​ ​Do​ ​you​ ​think the​ ​college​ ​gives​ ​a​ ​significant​ ​amount​ ​of​ ​power​ ​to​ ​the ​ ​SUS?​ ​A​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​people​ ​say​ ​that​ ​it’s​ ​just​ ​an event​ ​organizing​ ​committee.

The​ ​SUS​ ​doesn’t​ ​really​ ​have​ ​many​ ​powers,​ ​to​ ​be​ ​honest.​ ​It’s​ ​just​ ​like​ ​any​ ​other​ ​society,​ ​but​ ​with elected representation.​ ​In​ ​matters​ ​that​ ​require​ ​attention,​ ​you​ ​write​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Principal​ ​as​ ​President​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Student Union.​ ​The​ ​answer​ ​might​ ​be​ ​yes​ ​or​ ​no,​ ​but​ ​you​ ​have​ ​the​ ​right​ ​to​ ​approach.​ ​How​ ​you​ ​take​ ​it​ ​up​ ​is​ ​a different​ ​case.​ ​At​ ​the​ ​same​ ​time​ ​you’re​ ​backed​ ​by​ ​the​ ​Staff​ ​Adviser.​​​ ​In​ ​that​ ​sense,​ ​we​ ​don’t​ ​have many​ ​powers​ ​unless​ ​and​ ​until​ ​we​ ​decide​ ​to​ ​mobilize​ ​the ​entire​ ​student​ ​body​ ​to​ ​come​ ​and​ ​promote​ ​a particular​ ​cause.​ ​Last​ ​year,​ ​we​ ​did​ ​see​ ​that​ ​happening.

3. The​ ​Common​ ​Freshers​ ​is​ ​something​ ​you’ve​ ​started​ ​this​ ​year.​ ​How​ ​will​ ​you​ ​finance​ ​it?

Last​ ​year​ ​there​ ​was​ ​a​ ​Resident’s​ ​Freshers​ ​and​ ​a​ ​movie​ ​screening.​ ​We​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​continue​ ​with​ ​the idea,​ ​and​ ​decided​ ​to​ ​expand​ ​it​ ​for​ ​Day​ ​Scholars​ ​as​ ​ well.​ ​It’ll​ ​be​ ​a​ ​get​ ​together​ ​of​ ​sorts.​ ​There​ ​will​ ​be performances​ ​by​ ​some​ ​enthusiastic​ ​first​ ​years.​ ​We​ ​have​ some​ ​money​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Fund​ ​which​ ​will​ ​be utilized​ ​to​ ​get​ ​refreshments, if at all.

4. There​ ​was​ ​a​ ​point​ ​in​ ​your​ ​manifesto​ ​which​ ​was​ ​greatly​ ​appreciated​ ​by​ ​the​ ​residents​ ​owing​ ​to​ ​the Delhi​ ​Heat.​ ​You​ ​proposed​ ​that​ ​Rooms​ ​A,​ ​B​ ​and​ ​C​ ​be​ ​ kept​ ​open​ ​till​ ​10 PM.​ ​The​ ​college​ ​isn’t​ ​willing​ ​to extend​ ​the​ ​library​ ​timings​ ​by​ ​an​ ​hour.​ ​The​ ​extra​ ​hours ​​of​ ​operation​ ​will​ ​certainly​ ​add​ ​to​ ​the​ ​bill.​ ​Do you​ ​think​ ​the​ ​Bursar​ ​will​ ​be​ ​in​ ​favor​ ​of​ ​this​ ​proposition?

The​ ​library​ ​timings​ ​are​ ​not​ ​being​ ​extended​ ​because​ ​of​ ​staff​ ​members. ​ ​According​ ​to​ ​UGC​ ​guidelines, staff​ ​members​ ​can​ ​stay​ ​in​ ​college​ ​only​ ​till​ ​a​ ​specific ​time​ ​i.e.​ ​5​ ​pm.​ ​If​ ​they​ ​stay​ ​later​ ​than​ ​that, ​ ​the college​ ​has​ ​to​ ​pay. ​ ​Moreover,​ ​the​ ​staff​ ​members​ ​are​ ​ not​ ​willing​ ​to​ ​stay​ ​in​ ​college​ ​after​ ​that. So​ ​opening​ ​either​ ​of​ ​the​ ​rooms-​ ​A, ​ ​B,​ ​and​ ​C​ ​is​ ​an​ ​alternative​ ​to​ ​this. As​ ​far​ ​as​ ​the​ ​AC​ ​bill​ ​is​ ​concerned, ​ ​it​ ​will​ ​not​ really​ ​add​ ​substantially​ ​to​ ​the​ ​current​ ​expenses​ ​as​ ​some rooms​ ​are​ ​already​ ​open​ ​for​ ​Evening​ ​Classes.​ ​It​ ​should​ ​be​ ​manageable.​ ​The​ ​staff​ ​adviser​ ​has​ ​already approved​ ​of​ ​this​ ​proposition.​ ​We​ ​are​ ​still​ ​waiting​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Principal’s​ ​approval.

5. The​ ​manifestos​ ​of​ ​the​ ​other​ ​two​ ​candidates​ ​were​ seen​ ​as​ ​largely​ ​similar​ ​since​ ​everyone​ ​was striving to​ ​promote​ the ​greater​ ​good​ ​of​ ​Stephania.​ ​Do​ ​you​ ​plan​ ​to​ ​incorporate​ ​their​ ​suggestions​ ​as​ ​well? How?

Yes,​ ​definitely.​ ​I​ ​read​ ​both​ ​their​ ​manifestos.​ ​In​ ​fact,​ ​I​ ​asked​ ​the​ ​other​ ​two​ ​candidates​ ​if​ ​they’d​ ​like​ ​to be​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Union.​ ​Apparently,​ ​one​ ​of​ ​them​ ​refused.​ ​The​ ​other​ ​candidate​ ​did​ ​say​ ​that​ ​people from​ ​his​ ​camp​ ​are​ ​interested,​ ​but​ ​refused​ ​so​ ​at​ ​a​​ later​ ​date.​ ​I​ ​was​ ​ready​ ​to​ ​work​ ​with​ ​them,​ ​but​ ​they didn’t​ ​show​ ​any​ ​interest.​ ​I​ ​did​ ​my​ ​part​ ​by​ ​asking​ ​them. But​ ​it’s​ ​great​ ​to​ ​see​ ​that​ ​Second​ ​Years​ ​from​ ​different​ ​camps​ ​have​ ​applied​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​our​ ​Union. This​ ​is​ ​something​ ​that​ ​didn’t​ ​happen​ ​last​ ​year.

6. Last​ ​year​ ​the​ ​elected​ ​Student​ ​Council​ ​had​ ​two​ ​meetings​ ​throughout​ ​the​ ​year,​ ​indicating​ ​the minimal​ ​role​ ​that​ ​they​ ​play​ ​in​ ​the​ ​college.​ ​Why​ ​do​ ​ you​ ​think​ ​this​ ​is​ ​so?​ ​

The​ ​Constitution​ ​says​ ​that​ ​the​ ​Union​ ​should​ ​have​ ​regular​ ​meetings,​ ​but​ ​it​ ​does​ ​not​ ​specify how​ ​many.​ ​It​ ​gets​ ​difficult​ ​for​ ​Staff​ ​Advisers​ ​and​ ​all ​the​ ​Executive​ ​Council​ ​members​ ​to​ ​come​ ​together due​ ​to​ ​differences​ ​in​ ​their​ ​schedules. So,​ ​we​ ​usually​ ​meet​ ​once​ ​in​ ​the​ ​odd​ ​semester,​ ​and​ ​ maybe​ ​twice​ ​in​ ​the​ ​even​ ​semester,​ ​before​ ​and after​ ​Harmony​ ​to​ ​present​ ​the​ ​budget.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​not​ ​good​ ​practice,​ ​of​ ​course.​ ​This​ ​year​ ​we​ ​plan​ ​to consult​ ​the​ ​Executive​ ​Council​ ​before​ ​taking​ ​all​ ​major​​ decisions-​ ​opening​ ​the​ ​SUS​ ​link,​ ​holding​ ​major events,​ ​etc.​ ​It​ ​might​ ​take​ ​some​ ​more​ ​time,​ ​but​ ​this​ ​is​ ​the​ ​approach​ ​we​ ​want​ ​to​ ​adopt.​ ​In​ ​the​ ​past, there​ ​has​ ​been​ ​a​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​communication​ ​between​ ​the​ ​Executive​ ​Council​ ​and​ the ​Student​ ​Union.​ ​Better coordination​ ​will​ ​help​ ​both​ ​of​ ​us.​ ​As​ ​our​ ​teams​ ​are​ ​ diversified,​ ​we​ ​have​ ​a​ ​right​ ​to​ ​inform​ ​and​ ​be informed.​ ​It’s​ ​also​ ​important​ ​that​ ​the​ ​first​ ​years​ ​get​ ​to​ ​know​ ​how​ ​things​ ​are​ ​done​ ​because​ ​they’ll have​ ​to​ ​handle​ ​such​ ​tasks​ ​in​ ​the​ ​future.

7. Your​ ​manifesto​ ​promised​ ​creation​ ​of​ ​many​ ​committees-​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Mess,​ ​Cafe,​ ​Academic​ ​Cell,​ ​etc.​ ​How will​ ​the​ ​members​ ​of​ ​such​ ​committees​ ​be​ ​chosen?

Committees​ ​usually​ ​constitute of​ ​students​ ​from​ ​the​ ​Second​ ​and ​Third​ ​Year.​ ​So​ ​we​ ​have​ ​been​ ​circulating google​ ​forms​ ​for​ ​interested​ ​students​ ​to​ ​volunteer.​ ​Many​ ​people​ ​have​ ​done​ ​so,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​committees will​ ​be​ ​formed​ ​as​ ​per​ ​their​ ​preference.​ ​​We​ ​do​ ​not​ ​ have​ ​a​ ​recruitment​ ​criteria​ ​as​ ​such.​ ​Whoever​ ​is willing​ ​to​ ​work​ ​and​ ​has​ ​volunteered,​ ​will​ ​be​ ​given​ ​the ​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​work​ ​for​ ​the​ ​college.​ ​That’s​ ​the plan. After​ ​that​ ​is​ ​done,​ ​we​ ​will​ ​gather​ ​suggestions​ ​and​ ​ ideas​ ​from​ ​all​ ​students,​ ​again​ ​via​ ​Google​ ​forms,​ ​and the​ ​same​ ​will​ ​be​ ​put​ ​forward​ ​to​ ​the​ ​administration​ ​by​ ​the​ ​concerned​ ​committees.​ ​As​ ​discussion follows,​ ​we​ ​put​ ​forward​ ​our​ ​points,​ ​the​ ​administration​ ​ states​ ​its​ ​concerns​ ​and​ ​we​ ​try​ ​to​ ​reach​ ​a conclusion​ ​as​ ​to​ ​what​ ​is​ ​feasible. Take for​ ​example,​ ​the​ ​café​ ​menu.​ ​Students​ ​suggest​ ​that​ ​they​ ​want​ ​all​ ​kinds​ ​of​ ​juices,​ ​shakes,​ ​noodles,​ ​but​ ​this​ ​is​ ​not​ ​feasible.​ ​Moreover,​ ​the​ ​college​ ​does​​ not​ ​want​ ​privatization​ ​of​ ​the​ ​café,​ ​which​ ​is understandable.​ ​So​ ​we​ ​can​ ​ask​ ​for​ ​a​ ​greater​ ​but​​ limited​ ​variety​ ​of​ ​options,​ ​something​ ​which​ ​is do-able.​ ​We’ll​ ​be​ ​circulating​ ​the​ ​forms​ ​soon​ ​so​ ​that​ ​ each​ ​student​ ​has​ ​the​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​send​ ​in​ ​their preferences.

8. You​ ​proposed​ ​an​ ​elected​ ​representative​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Ladies Common Room.​ ​What​ ​will​ ​the​ ​election​ ​process​ ​for​ ​that​ ​look like?​ And​ ​what​ ​will​ ​the​ ​representative’s​ ​powers​ ​be?

We​ ​had​ ​elections​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Junior Common Room​ ​Representative.​ ​For​​ the​ ​LCR​ ​Representative,​ ​it​ ​will​ ​happen​ ​along​ ​the same​ ​lines.​ ​Voters​ ​will​ ​be​ ​lady​ ​day-scholars,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​nominations​ ​will​ ​be​ ​accepted​ ​only​ ​from​ ​Third Year​ ​lady​ ​day-scholars.​ ​The representative will ensure​ ​that ​​she​ ​is​ ​in​ ​touch​ ​with​ ​the​ ​person​ ​sitting​ ​in​ ​the​ ​LCR and​ ​the​ ​Estate​ ​Office,​ ​so​ ​that​ ​they​ ​can​ ​work​ ​together​ ​to​ ​resolve​ ​any​ ​issues​ ​that​ ​arise. Someone​ ​from​ ​the​ ​Union​ ​could​ ​have​ ​also​ ​done​ ​the​ ​job​ but​ ​if​ ​we​ ​have​ ​one​ ​person​ ​who​ ​is​ ​specifically enthusiastic​ ​about​ ​the​ ​position​​ ​and​ ​ wants​ ​to​ ​take​ ​it​ ​up,​ ​it​ ​makes​ ​more​ ​sense. We​ ​want​ ​to​ ​get​ ​more​ ​things​ ​in​ ​the​ ​LCR.​ ​Right​ ​now,​ ​ I​ ​won’t​ ​spell​ ​out​ ​all​ ​that​ ​we​ ​plan​ ​to​ ​do.​ ​If​ ​ things​ ​go well,​ ​we​ ​will​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​provide​​ ​a​ ​sanitary​ ​napkin​ ​dispenser​ ​as​ ​promised.

9. One​ ​of​ ​the​ ​winning​ ​points​ ​of​ ​your​ ​Manifesto​ ​was​ ​the​ E-library.​ ​What​ ​is​ ​going​ ​to​ ​be​ ​your​ ​plan​ ​of action​ ​to​ ​initiate​ ​this?

A​ ​system​ ​to​ ​facilitate​ ​this​ ​already​ ​exists​ ​but​ ​the​ ​student​ ​community​ ​is​ ​unaware.​ ​We​ ​will​ ​give​ ​each​ ​CR a​ ​form​ ​which​ ​needs​ ​to​ ​be​ ​filled​ ​by​ ​all​ ​students.​ ​The ​ ​form​ ​will​ ​include​ ​some​ ​basic​ ​details.​ ​The​ ​librarian will​ ​mail​ ​everyone​ ​their​ ​account​ ​IDs​ ​and​ ​passwords.​ ​With ​ ​that​ ​account​ ​you’ll​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​access e-libraries​ ​of​ ​universities​ ​like​ ​Cambridge,​ ​Stanford,​ ​etc​. ​which​ ​are​ ​free​ ​of​ ​cost,​ ​and​ ​you​ ​can​ ​download PDF​ ​versions.​ ​You​ ​can​ ​access​ ​the​ ​Delhi​ ​University​ ​ library​ ​and​ ​check​ ​catalogue​ ​numbers​ ​for​ ​our​ ​college library​ ​as​ ​well.

10. Are​ ​you​ ​comfortable​ ​sharing​ ​your​ ​stance​ ​on​ ​the​ ​Autonomy​ ​issue?

Yes,​ ​I​ ​am​ ​quite​ ​comfortable​ ​talking​ ​about​ ​the​ ​issue.​ ​The​ ​students​ ​did​ ​not​ ​say​ ​whether​ ​seeking​ ​the autonomy​ ​status​ ​was​ ​right​ ​or​ ​wrong,​ ​or​ ​whether​ ​they​​ were​ ​against​ ​it.​ ​All​ ​they​ ​wanted​ ​was​ ​a democratic​ ​process​ ​of​ ​debate​ ​and​ ​deliberation.​ ​As​ ​a​ student​ ​of​ ​Political​ ​Science​ ​myself,​ ​I​ ​too​ ​feel​ ​that discussions​ ​should’ve​ ​taken​ ​place.​ ​I​ ​have​ ​read​ ​a​ ​couple​ ​of​ ​

articles​ ​about​ ​the​ ​same​ ​and​ ​tried​ ​to understand​ ​the​ ​extent​ ​to​ ​which​ ​it​ ​will​ ​affect​ ​everyone.​ ​If​ ​Autonomy​ ​comes​ ​in​ ​a​ ​way​ ​that​ ​it​ ​does​ ​not affect​ ​the​ ​finances​ ​of​ ​the​ ​college,​ ​the​ ​karamcharis,​ ​etc ​ ​then​ ​it’s​ ​a​ ​good​ ​thing.​ ​Moreover,​ ​if​ ​the government​ ​is​ ​imposing it,​ ​there​ ​is​ ​little​ ​we​ ​can​ ​do. I​ ​had​ ​this​ ​discussion​ ​with​ ​the​ ​Bursar​, who said​ ​that​ ​there​ ​is​ ​a​ ​new​ ​notification​ ​which specifies​ ​that​ ​the​ ​existing​ ​staff,​ ​the​ ​recruiting​ ​staff,​ ​the​ ​present​ ​batch​ ​of​ ​students​ ​and​ ​the​ ​next​ ​new batch​ ​coming​ ​in​ ​won’t​ ​be​ ​affected​ ​until​ ​and​ ​unless​ ​the ​college​ ​decides​ ​to​ ​introduce​ ​a​ ​new​ ​course. So,​ ​if​ ​the​ ​college​ ​were​ ​to​ ​introduce​ ​a​ ​new​ ​department, ​​say​ ​Political​ ​Science,​ ​then​ ​they​ ​have​ ​complete discretion​ ​to​ ​decide​ ​the​ ​fees​ ​for​ ​that​ ​particular​ ​course ​ ​only.​ ​But​ ​as​ ​of​ ​now,​ ​our​ ​college​ ​doesn’t​ ​plan​ ​to do​ ​anything​ ​along​ ​those​ ​lines. The​ ​new​ ​notification​ ​also​ ​says​ ​that​ ​the​ ​University Grants Commission​ ​will​ ​ continue​ ​to​ ​fund​ ​the​ ​college​ ​for​ ​all​ ​existing​ ​courses, as​ ​it​ ​has​ ​till​ ​date.

11. Currently​ ​our​ ​college’s​ ​Union​ ​is​ ​formed​ ​by​ ​electing​ ​the​ ​President​ ​and​ ​the​ ​rest​ ​of​ ​the​ ​team​ ​is​ ​formed at​ ​the​ ​President’s​ ​discretion. ​What​ ​is​ ​your​ ​view​ ​on​ ​a​ ​single​ ​individual​ ​holding​ ​such​ ​power?

When​ ​we​ ​say​ ​that​ ​the​ ​Union​ ​doesn’t​ ​have​ ​power,​ ​we​ can’t​ ​say​ ​that​ ​the​ ​President​ ​has​ ​all​ ​the​ ​power. Even​ ​the​ ​constitution​ ​supports​ ​this​ ​statement.​ ​There​ ​is​​ one​ ​elected​ ​member,​ ​the​ ​President,​ ​who​ ​can select​ ​his​ ​own​ ​cabinet. It’s​ ​a​ ​huge​ ​responsibility​ ​for​ ​me, and​ ​will​ ​be​ ​throughout​ the​ ​year.​ ​But​ ​at​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​the​ ​day,​ ​it’s​ ​‘Students’ Union​ ​Society’.​ ​So​ ​we​ ​have​ ​to​ ​follow​ ​the​ ​guidelines​ ​as​ ​other​ ​societies​ ​do.​ ​Each​ ​society​ ​has​ ​a President,​ ​a​ ​Vice​ ​President​ ​and​ ​Vertical​ ​Heads,​ ​all​ ​selected​ ​on​ ​basis​ ​of​ ​merit.​ ​The​ ​same​ ​goes​ ​with​ ​the Union.​ ​It​ ​has​ ​different​ ​committees.​ ​All​ ​third​ ​years​ ​and​ ​second​ ​years​ ​work​ ​at​ ​the​ ​same​ ​level.

12. On​ ​the​ ​day​ ​of​ ​Open​ ​Court,​ ​someone​ ​raised​ ​an​ ​allegation ​regarding​​ ​promotion of​ ​regionalism​ ​in college by your camp.​ ​What​ ​do​ ​you​ ​have​ ​to​ ​say​ ​to​ ​that?

The​ ​debate​ ​about​ ​regionalism​ ​is​ ​going​ ​on​ ​since​ ​last​ ​year. ​I​ ​really​ ​don’t​ ​know​ ​why​ ​they​ ​think​ ​that​ ​I promoted​ ​regionalism. One​ ​of​ ​my​ ​best​ ​friends​ ​was​ ​stopped​ ​by​ ​a​ ​person​ ​from​ ​another​ ​camp​ ​while​ ​he​ ​was​ ​walking​, ​and​ ​asked who​ ​he​ ​would​ ​vote​ ​for.​ ​When​ ​he​ ​replied​ ​with​ ​my​ ​name, ​they​ ​asked​ ​him​ ​why​ ​he​ ​was​ ​voting​ ​for​ ​a South​ ​Indian,​ ​being​ ​from​ ​North​ ​India. During​ ​Open​ ​Court,​ ​they​ ​started​ ​accusing​ ​me​ ​of​ regionalism​ ​and​ ​showed​ ​some​ ​messages.​ ​Those messages​ ​were​ ​related​ ​to​ ​“mallu​ ​ragging”​ ​and​ ​had no​ connection​ ​to​ ​my​ ​campaign​ ​at​ ​all.​ ​I​ ​could​ ​actually show​ ​that​ ​I​ ​have​ ​a​ ​more​ ​diversified​ ​team​ ​than​ ​the​ ​ other​ ​two​ ​camps​ ​but​ ​I​ ​did​ ​not​ ​want​ ​to​ ​use​ ​the regionalism​ ​card​ ​on​ ​the​ ​day​ ​of​ ​Open​ ​Court.

13. You​ ​have​ ​worked​ ​under​ ​two ​different​ ​presidents.​ ​Do​ ​you​ ​ feel​ ​the​ ​need​ ​to​ ​differentiate​ ​yourself​ ​from them?

Elections in my First Year​ ​were​ ​quite​ ​funny​ ​because​ ​there​ ​was​ ​only​ ​one​ ​candidate​ ​standing​ ​for elections.​ ​Later​ ​she​ ​resigned,​ ​and​ ​a​ ​person​ ​from​ ​the​ ​Executive​ ​Council​ ​took​ ​charge.​ ​I​ ​mostly​ ​worked​ ​with my​ ​Second​ ​Years​ ​then​ ​which​ ​was​ ​a​ ​really​ ​good​ ​experience.​ ​Coming​ ​to​ ​last​ ​year’s​ ​President,​ ​he​ ​took up​ ​some​ ​initiatives​ ​but​ ​those​ ​did​ ​not​ ​sustain.​ ​I​ ​ really​ ​have​ ​a​ ​great​ ​team​ ​that​ ​has​ ​my​ ​back.​ ​That​ ​is always​ ​been​ ​my​ ​strength.​ ​When​ ​results​ ​were​ ​announced,​ ​I​ ​was​ ​shocked​ ​to​ ​see​ ​such​ ​a​ ​huge​ ​majority. I​ ​feel​ ​more​ ​responsible​ ​after​ ​seeing​ ​such​ ​support​ ​for​ ​me. ​We​ ​might​ ​not​ ​end​ ​up​ ​doing​ ​great​ ​things​ ​but​ ​we​ hope to ​end​ ​up​ ​doing​ ​small ​things​, ​which ​the next​ ​batch​ can ​take​ ​up.​ ​We​ ​never​ ​take​ ​any​ ​one​ ​as​ ​our​ ​ideal​ ​president​ ​or​ ​ideal​ ​team.​ ​This​ ​year​ ​we​ ​want to be​ ​that​ ​ideal​ ​team​ ​which​ ​can​ ​really​ ​work​ ​for​ ​the​ ​ welfare​ ​of​ ​students​ ​and​ ​the​ ​college.​ ​These​ ​small things​ ​which​ ​we​ ​start​ ​now​ ​will​ ​definitely​ ​sustain​ ​when​ ​they​ ​are​ ​taken​ ​up​ ​by​ ​batches​ ​to​ ​come.

14. Are​ ​you​ ​a​ ​feminist?​ ​What​ ​do​ ​you​ ​have​ ​to​ ​say​ ​about​ the​ ​debates that​ ​sparked off​ ​over​ ​feminism​ ​after​ ​Open Court?

I​ ​am​ ​a​ ​feminist.​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​know​ ​much​ ​about​ ​the​ ​formal​ ​feminist​ ​theory​ ​but​ ​I​ ​believe​ ​in​ ​equality.​ ​There were​ ​many​ ​things​ that ​happened​ ​this​ ​year​ ​after​ ​open​ ​court.​ ​​​People​ ​from​ ​other​ ​camps​ ​started​ ​making memes​ ​about​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​things which was meaningless.

15. You​ ​mention​ ​the​ ​Sexual​ ​Harassment​ ​Committee​ ​in​ ​the​ ​same​ ​breath​ ​as​ ​LCR,​ ​making​ ​it​ ​a​ ​gender specific​ ​requirement​ ​in​ ​some​ ​ways. What​ ​will​ ​the​ ​constitution​ ​and​ ​the​ ​mechanism​ ​look​ ​like?​ ​How​ ​soon​ ​we​ ​can​ ​expect​ ​it​ ​to be​ ​functional?

On​ ​the​ ​day​ ​of​ ​open​ ​court,​ ​I​ ​had​ ​to​ ​cover​ ​many​ ​things​ ​under​ ​5​ ​minutes.​ ​I​ ​mentioned​ ​the​ ​Sexual Harassment​ ​Committee​ ​after​ ​LCR​ ​but​ ​I​ ​realize​ ​that​​ these​ ​two​ ​are​ ​separate​ ​bodies.​ ​I​ ​had​ ​a​ ​meeting with​ ​Joan​ recently​, ​who​ ​is​ ​involved​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Pinjra​ ​Tod​ ​movement.​ ​She​ ​would​ ​help​ ​me​ ​in​ ​further developments​ ​about​ ​the​ ​Committee​ ​since​ ​she​ ​particularly​ ​ knows​ ​when​ ​to​ ​have​ ​elections​ ​as mandated​ ​by​ ​the​ ​University.​ ​She​ ​said​ ​it​ ​would​ ​be​ ​ prudent​ ​to​ ​have​ ​an​ ​election​ ​at​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​the month​ ​so​ ​as​ ​to​ ​coincide​ ​with​ ​Pinjra​ ​Tod​ ​movement.​ ​They ​ ​will​ ​send​ ​a​ ​mail​ ​to​ ​each​ ​college representative​ ​to​ ​make​ ​sure​ ​that​ ​elections​ ​happened. ​ ​There​ ​will​ ​be​ ​one​ ​elected​ ​representative​ ​from​ ​the​ ​ students​ ​and​ ​two​ ​staff​ ​members.​ ​The​ ​Principal​ ​will not​ ​be​ ​on​ ​the​ ​Committee.​ ​So​ ​you​ ​can​ ​bring​ ​up​ ​an​ ​ issue​ ​against​ ​anyone,​ ​even​ ​the​ ​Principal.​ ​The present​ ​faculty​ ​member​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Committee​ ​is​ ​not​ ​active. This​ ​year​ ​we​ ​will​ ​have​ ​elections​ ​so​ ​that​ ​the​ ​Committee ​is​ ​more​ ​pro-active and​ ​the​ ​elected representatives​ ​have​ ​a​ ​sense​ ​of​ ​responsibility. Apart​ ​from​ ​this,​ ​we​ ​are​ ​planning​ ​to​ ​have​ ​a​ ​student​ ​counselling​ ​cell.​ ​We​ ​hope​ ​this​ ​will​ ​give​ ​mental support​ ​to​ ​the​ ​students.

16. Do​ ​you​ ​have​ ​plans​ ​to​ ​reintroduce​ ​the​ ​Principal’s​ ​ Tree?

I​ ​am​ ​really​ ​not​ ​up​ ​for​ ​it​ ​considering​ ​how​ ​it​​ backfired​ ​last​ ​year​, ​but​ ​it​ ​depends.​ ​There​ ​were​ ​many​​ issues that​ ​were​ ​raised​ ​on​ ​that​ ​day​ ​last​ ​year.​ ​The​ ​curfew​​ issue​ ​was​ ​raised​ ​and​ ​the Principal​ ​asked​ ​us​ ​to​ ​make​ ​plans​ ​for an​ ​open​ ​campus.​ ​We​ ​made​ ​the​ ​plans​ ​but​ ​all​ ​our​ ​work​ ​was​ ​in​ ​vain.

17.What​ ​is​ ​your​ ​take​ ​on​ ​open​ ​campus​ ​and​ ​curfew​ ​situations ​in​ ​campus​ ​now?

10​ ​PM​ ​is​ ​very​ ​restrictive.​ ​​We​ ​can​ ​make​ ​it​ ​an​ ​open ​campus​ ​and​ ​restrict​ ​the​ ​entry​ ​of​ ​outsiders​ ​to ensure​ ​safety.​ ​We​ ​can​ ​also​ ​propose​ ​to​ ​extend​ ​the​ ​ curfew.​ ​I​ ​know​ ​for​ ​the​ ​boys,​ ​curfew​ ​is​ ​not​ ​strict. We​ ​can​ ​take​ ​up​ ​this​ ​issue,​ ​make​ ​a​ ​plan​ ​and​ ​put​ ​it​ ​before​ ​Principal.​ ​It’s​ ​up​ ​to​ ​him​ ​to​ ​accept​ ​it​ ​or​ ​not but​ ​the​ ​plan​ ​should​ ​be​ ​clear​ ​and​ ​convincing.​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​know​ ​if​ ​everyone​ ​is​ ​fine​ ​with​ ​open​ ​campus​ ​or extending​ ​the​ ​curfew​ ​timings.​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​think​ ​we​ ​are​ ​not ​ ​safe​ ​after​ ​10.​ ​If​ ​you​ ​are​ ​safe​ ​till​ ​10,​ ​you​ ​will​ ​be safe​ ​after​ ​10​ ​also.​ ​I​ ​also​ ​know​ ​there​ ​are​ ​many​ ​other ​ ​issues​ ​faced​ ​by​ ​residence​ ​students​ ​like application​ ​for​ ​night​ ​outs.​ ​Also​ ​different​ ​blocks​ ​have​ different​ ​rules​ ​so​ ​these​ ​are​ ​things​ ​that​ ​need​ ​to be​ ​changed.

18. So​ ​the​ ​elections​ ​were​ ​held​ ​on​ ​30​th​​ ​August.​​ ​Not​ ​a​ ​significant​ ​amount​ ​of​ ​time​ ​for you​ ​to​ ​start​ ​working​ ​on​ ​your​ ​promises,​ ​but​ ​how​ ​has​ ​ it​ ​been​ ​so​ ​far?

In​ ​order​ ​to​ ​declare​ ​my​ ​Cabinet​ ​and​ ​second-year​ ​Council,​ ​the​ ​Executive​ ​Council​ ​results​ ​have​ ​to​ ​be​ ​out because​ ​some​ ​people​ ​from​ ​my​ ​camp​ ​also​ ​contested​ ​for​​ Executive​ ​Council​ ​positions. Apart​ ​from​ ​that,​ ​some​ ​dengue​ ​cases​ ​were​ ​reported,​ ​so​ ​I ​ ​have​ ​spoken​ ​to​ ​the​ ​college​ ​administration regarding​ ​fumigation​ ​of​ ​the​ ​campus.​ ​We​ ​sent​ ​a​ ​notice​ ​ to​ ​the​ ​Municipal​ ​Corporation​ ​of​ ​Delhi​ ​for​ ​the same.​ ​Hopefully​ ​they’ll​ ​be​ ​coming​ ​in​ ​next​ ​week.​ ​In​ ​ another​ ​week​ ​we​ ​should​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​start​ ​the​ ​Mess and​ ​Cafe​ ​menu.​ ​We​ ​have​ ​had​ ​discussions​ ​with​ ​the​ ​Dean​ ​as​ ​well,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Estate​ ​Office​ ​regarding​ ​the concern​ ​of​ ​cleanliness​ ​in​ ​washrooms.​ ​We​ ​have​ ​also​ ​planned​ ​a​ ​Common​ ​Freshers.


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