Published: 23rd April 2019
IIT Madras bans students from watching movies, playing games inside hostel rooms. Laptops and WiFi only for 'academics'
The email was sent on April 18 to the residents of the institute's Sabarmati hostel, banning them from using laptops for 'objectionable purposes'
For most millennial hostellers, catching up on the latest episode of Game of Thrones with friends or watching an IPL livestream on Hotstar in the corridor or playing Call of Duty with their roommates would be the among the best of their college memories. But for the IIT Madras hostellers, these are apparently fruits of the forbidden tree. According to an email sent to the residents of Sabarmati hostel by the Deputy Registrar, they are banned from watching movies or playing games on their laptops, inside their rooms — because the hostel norms say so. Laptops and internet usage are meant for 'educational purposes only'.
The email reads, "Use of personal computer/laptop by a (hostel) resident for academic purpose is permitted. They should not be used for objectionable purposes including watching movies/playing games." The email with a set of regulations was sent to the residents of Sabarmati Hostel on April 18. The email says that its content is an extract from the hostel rules and regulations. It also says that the use of electrical appliances such as immersion heaters, electric stoves, heaters and electric iron is forbidden in the rooms. It is to be noted that IIT Madras hostellers often use a kettle or induction stove to grab a snack or get a cup of coffee late at night.
The whole issue was raised during a meeting of the wardens when an issue concerning one of students cropped up. The student had reportedly raised an issue saying that he would not pay the fine when caught with an electrical appliance because he claimed it was not above the 1 kWh cut-off mark. In response to this, an extract from the IIT Hostel guidelines was posted duly and sent to the wardens.
The email, which looks untrue on the first glance was met with much criticism online and offline. "The hostel has a vigilance committee which has the right to come to your room and check your personal belongings and the students have to oblige. They even check the contents in your personal computers," says Alankrita Singh, a PhD researcher. "They also impose hefty fines on students. A year back, a claustrophobic student was slapped with a fine of Rs 20,000 for sleeping on the sofa. Another hosteller was fined Rs 10,000 for parking her bicycle in a no parking area. There were no prior warnings too," she says, furious, yet unsurprised by the new email.
Not too long ago, a few IIT Madras researchers, both men and women, had accused the vigilance officers of barging into their hostel rooms and clicking their photographs without consent. Four months ago, the administration also put up a list of the hostel rule defaulters in its Brahmaputra hostel. The list also displayed the name and details of a student, from whose room they allegedly found a used condom. This had created a lot of hue and cry.
We tried reaching out to Dr Sathyanarayana Gummadi, Chairman Council of Wardens for a comment on the same. However, our messages did not yield any response.