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The selection process for IB heads this year has undergone a drastic change with the introduction of Open Elections for IB OCs. Much has been discussed about the rationale behind this in the student community. We bring you the administration’s take on the issue:
The idea for Open Elections for IBs has been on the cards for quite some time now. The issue was officially raised in February’s SAC meeting in which the then Institute Alumni Secretary, Arpit Oswal suggested a nominated selection procedure for his post in coming years as opposed to Open Elections. The suggestion was met with resistance in the meeting with the Director stating that, eventually, all posts in the institute should be elected. The Deputy Director and DoSA subscribed to this school of thought and the idea which had been buzzing for some time now has finally been implemented.

One catalyst to this change has been the conventional selection procedure for OCs and CG/Managers of IBs. The administration for some time has been concerned about wing/friendship ‘dynasties’ being formed in IBs and favouritism occurring in the selection, based on old affiliation, dedication shown to the fest in previous years, etc.

Another concern was the spirit of sophies/freshies working to impress seniors in order to pave their way within an IB as opposed to working out of interest while handling their academic curriculum simultaneously. There is also the worry that a student might dedicate most of his/her life from 1st or 2nd year in pursuit of the OC position, which the administration feels should not be the case. Each post should be equally accessible to all the students irrespective of their history within the IB. These factors coupled suggest that a selection procedure which involves more people than just the core team (i.e. the CG/Managers + OCs) needs to be implemented.

Being part of a democratic country and already functioning within a democratic setup, elections for the IB heads also made sense. We are aware that there are many concerns that students have with this system also. However with institute wide elections, we increased the entropy of the procedure and instead of giving the selection power to just 2 dozen people, the collective wisdom of 7000 will be at play, making it much harder for result-affecting gangs to form.

Besides, there have been complaints from within the student body on accountability of these team members. There have been allegations of them claiming prizes for themselves, being unreasonable in their selection interviews for CGs/Managers. These complaints have been taken to the Dean, SA office. With the openness brought about by institute elections, every OC will be accountable to the student body. Any wrongdoing on their part can be brought out into the open by any student and the IB will be answerable for it. The involvement of faculty in CG/Manager interviews is to ensure fair trials and prevent misuse of the power vested in the outgoing teams.

As for concerns that the quality of these fests may suffer, the voting students are the ones who shall lose out if the OCs they vote in are not the best candidates. The onus is quite obviously on the entire student community to make the best choice, and lest they falter, the institute shall collectively suffer.

There have been many efforts to resist this change. But in the end, democracy shall serve us in our best interests. It is a sustainable solution to our problems – the students elect their heads, the heads work for the students, and if they falter, the students can bring them down. No faculty intervention is required to hear complaints and mete out justice. Students should appreciate this system, the power it vests in them to demand what they want from the festivals and be glad that we are moving towards a complete democracy in the institute.

For a student’s view-point on the same issue: Democracy and the Pretense of it all