Friday, February 26, 2016

Anti-Discrimination Officer for Dalit students in Central Universities

The death of HCU research scholar Rohith Vemula and subsequent controversies has literally forced the Union HRD ministry to appoint anti-discrimination officer for Dalit students in Central Universities.
A Conference of Vice Chancellors of Central Universities was held on February 18, 2016 whereby all the Vice Chancellors and senior Officers of the Central Universities have been asked to be more vigilant & put a proper system in place to ensure that the students from these categories are not put to any disadvantage/ hardship. The Vice Chancellors have inter-alia agreed to appoint Anti-Discrimination Officer as provided in UGC (Promotion of Equity in Higher Education Institutions) Regulations, 2012.

In order to check discrimination and harassment of any sections of students and to strengthen the grievance redressal mechanism, University Grants Commission (UGC) has formulated UGC (Promotion of Equity in Higher Education Institutions) Regulations, 2012 and UGC (Grievance Redressal), Regulations, 2012. These Regulations intend to give effect in letter and spirit to the provisions of the Constitution and other statutory provisions and policies for prevention of discrimination on the grounds of caste and to safeguard the interests of the students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The Regulations also seek to provide for advancement of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students through setting up of Equal Opportunity Cells in each Higher Educational Institution. The UGC also provides financial assistance to establish the Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy to support focused research on the issue of social exclusion related to dalits, tribal and religious minorities.

Other initiatives also include provisions of Anti Discriminatory faculty advisors for SC/ST students who look into their problems and advise accordingly, appointment of Student Counsellors to address personal, academic, psychological and family related problems, providing sports and extra curriculum activities, setting up counseling centers, provision of anxiety helpline, and setting up disciplinary action committee to take urgent action in case of any complaints reported ragging, discrimination based on caste, creed, religion and gender etc.