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Monday, September 26, 2011

The Letter by Students of MIT, Anna University, to the Vice Chancellor

This is an edited version of the letter written by Students of Madras Institute of Technology, Anna University, to the Vice Chancellor. Thanks to Gaurav and Mohan for editing it. This was originally posted in Facebook group, but since it is a closed space requiring login I'm parking it here.

It is very clear that the dean has been functioning in an autocratic and stupid fashion. All emphasis in text are mine. I hope my alma matter will get rid of her.

To the Respected Vice-Chancellor,

We the students of Anna University, MIT Campus are going to protest by staying inside our hostels until the Dean of MIT Campus is replaced. We will not come out of our hostels until our demands are fully accepted. We are subject to constant mental agony ever since the new Dean was sworn in. She has absolutely no idea about the traditions of MIT that have transcended the decades since when the institution was established. Our mental distress is so terrible that some of us are thinking about quitting our courses; some of us are even considering quitting the university since our career post Anna University has become a question mark. We feel that, with the college being an autonomous institution, the authorities feel they have every right to be dictatorial in their approach, especially our dean Dr. Thamarai Selvi. We wish to express displeasure with regard to the following things regarding our current dean:-
1) We are not treated like students in a professional degree course. Instead we are treated in a draconian manner not befitting even school students. A search for intellectual excellence through independent thinking cannot happen when we're treated with utmost disrespect and disdain.
2) Dean is only concerned about her image and not about the students.
3) Thanks to the autonomy of the institute, our views are fully suppressed.
4) Even when our parents are called for any inquiries, they are treated rather poorly and our Dean has the habit of using unparliamentary words not befitting a head of such a prestigious institution. Not only was it totally uncalled for, it also tarnished the reputation of our university.
5) Our calls for proper treatment were met with threats of fines and arrears in exams. As a result, the unwritten rule in college is not to even clarify doubts in class taken by even the most unqualified faculty.
6) The Dean has also indulged in activities like entering boys hostels in person and disturbing students suffering from illnesses. Further infringement of our rights include the Dean actually entering the gents’ toilet under the pretext of catching rulebreakers. How can we function when we're treated worse than inmates in a prison and our rights to such basic privacy aren't guaranteed?
7) The Dean has threatened the first year students and asked them to readily lodge false complaints against their seniors even though there were no ragging incidents per se.
The Dean does not respect our rich college traditions such as the Junior-Senior relationship. Instead of allowing supervised interactions to prevent any instances of ragging, she has totally banned any mere act of even talking by putting it under the banner of 'ragging' in a move that would totally destroy what makes MIT so unique.
9) The hostel gates are locked every morning from 8.45 to 11.45 am. This is not specified anywhere in the university rules. As a result, even the students with legitimate excuses are not allowed into the hostel.
10) We are not allowed to use our mobiles and laptops after 9pm till morning (when classes aren't even in session). Not every parent who wants to talk to their children away from home gets back after work before 9pm. What kind of technological institution bans laptops which are vital to any kind of research and studying that we need to do? This again is a rule that is not specified anywhere by the university in its regulations.
11. Students are excessively fined, for trivial issues, including and not limited to eating at college canteens (as opposed to the mess), not locking their rooms when they go even to a nearby restroom, for staying in their rooms when ill etc. The only gain from this is to those authorities at college who like seeing their bank balances go up.
12. The choice of the new Dean of MIT Campus, Anna University Chennai has also not been as per seniority. Money has certainly played a huge role apart from influence in making her dean. This is what’s happening at Anna University, MIT Campus and we’re fed up with many more such problems which we feel ashamed to reveal in detail for fear of the institution’s reputation taking a beating. We are however ready to share our grievances to a competent authority if given a forum where our views will actually be heard without malice from the people in power.
We hate seeing the culture of MIT taking a beating, a culture of seniors helping juniors they’ve never even met, helping them as if they were members of the same family. MIT’s fame and reputation are being degraded year by year by those with money and power. We conclude by affirming that we will not leave our hostels until the Dean, whose ill-will towards the students and inconsiderate actions that put a question mark on our careers, is changed. We are engineering students well on our way to becoming professionals, future builders of our nation’s infrastructure and would like to be treated with dignity.

Yours Sincerely,
The students of Madras Institute of Technology

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Google Plus

Google Plus has completed 100 days now, and it has many users but the problem is there are no posts! Well, at least not as much as Facebook. This post started as a switching guide for those who wanted to use Google+ instead of FB but are not doing it since there's isn't much happening here[1]. But now, to celebrate it's open to all feature, it contains another part first. :-)

The New Features in Google Plus

The initial version of G+ itself was better, but now has even more options that makes it truly awesome.
  • The Hangout has become much more than leisurely hanging out. It is now a full featured collaborative tool. You can edit Google docs while watching a video and talking with a group of people. And not just YouTube videos; you can share any window -including VLC- or just your whole monitor. And it works from an Android phone too. :) I mean, you can make presentation to bore people to death, remotely.
  • The photo sharing is just cool. If one views using G+ interface, it's great from a social view, for commenting, controlling who can view, resharing etc. If one views from Picasa, it's photographer's pleasure with very good editing features, mass upload etc; Not to mention integration with offline Picasa tool. Changes made in one interface reflects on the other(it's the same photo;-). FB + Flickr + less maintenance.
  • It's accessible. Check this to see how people who can't speak can use Hangout with sign language. :-)
  • It's open to all now. :-)

Let's now get back to original task.

Being an early adopter is an awesome stoke for a geek's ego and usually works out fine. I can recall my own experience when I got a gmail id.

Unless it's a social thing. That simply doesn't work unless there are more people adopting it. But there's a catch, a recursive one at that. People won't adopt unless early adopters use it more and go ga ga over it. But early adopters can't use it without people joining it. But, er.., you get the point, right?

The solution is to keep using it even though only small number of people are there. This is awkward for social stuff, but no other go. Tips to improve the situation:

  • Almost everyone using Buzz is in Google+. So better to use +. But bloody Google is not enabling automatic posting in + like it is in Buzz. @SRR: Can you suggest this feature for Plus?
  • Do not post anything in FB. How else do you expect friends to come to Plus for info about you if you post it in both places? I like & comment on other's posts but don't post anything on my own.

PS: Other suggestions are welcome.

PPS: why I go to this extent? I don't trust FB with my data. That's why.

PPPS: I hate the bloody Blogger interface. It sucks even when I copy paste HTML from WordPress. Can't Google do better?


[1] No, this is not addressed to people who do not want to switch. :-)