Published: 30th August 2019
IIT Guwahati to issue rules on what students, faculty can post on social media, to monitor 'likes and dislikes' too
The institute reasoned that comments, likes and dislikes on posts regarding the institute has a direct impact on global image of the institute
Forget big brother, if you're in IIT Guwahati, your college administration is watching your social media activity — because it can impact the 'global image' of the institute. The Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati has issued a notice that it will be constituting a committee to draft social media guidelines for students, faculty and staff. The administration states that the guidelines, once issued, will apply to all communications by an individual or a group of persons on any forum including internet, phone, emails, television, videos and print media. The committee will also watch out for 'likes and dislikes' on posts regarding the institutes.
The notice, issued on August 28 and signed by the interim registrar states that it has been issued with the approval of the director. It lists the names of the members of the Committee that would be drafting the 'Social Media Guidelines', it will constitute a chairman, a member secretary and three other members. Stating that because the strength of the institute has increased to 8000 members, there is increased use of social media, the notice explained, "The ideas, opinions and information shared on such platforms have a direct impact on the global image of the institute. Thus the committee is created to recommend a set of guidelines and code of conduct for the community."
The notice also elaborated on the scope of the work of the committee and what sort of communication it will be issuing guidelines for — all communications by an individual or a group of persons on any forum including internet, phone, email, television, videos and print media, the use of the institute symbols such as logo, anthem, name in formal and informal media.
The committee will also issue rules on the communication of messages, ideas, opinions about authorities, individuals and process of the institute. The students and staff will also be directed on giving feedback, comments, forwarding, approving/disapproving such as through even 'likes or dislikes' mentioned in any sort of media. The guidelines apply to permanent, on-contract and part-time members of the institute and the notice says that in order to 'ensure consistency', the committee will recommend amendments in the current policies too.
As expected, the students have not accepted the news very well and claim that it is a clear violation of the Indian constitution. "The institute's authorities are unable to resolve problems of students and so is now trying to stop their voices altogether by trying to bring in these guidelines," said a student. Another student wrote on FB that what he does on his personal social media is not the institute's business, "I don't oblige to this rule. What I discuss in my social media and on my phone are my personal issues. It is none of the institute's business. And if institute wants that no negative things should go in a public platform which hampers its image, it should strengthen its internal complaint redressal medium."
On a private student group, students joked about creating another group in case their's gets shut down soon. But most students are angry and accused the 'dictatorship' institute of just wanting to hide corruption. "This is too much, we should not keep silent and accept whatever the institute is imposing on us. If any such rule is implemented, we should protest," another student said.
We have contacted the institute for a comment and will update the copy with the same when we receive their responses.