Power of Students' Senate

The output of the work of student senate towards the betterment of student life depends upon two things – the decisions taken and their execution. The Vice president, Student’s Gymkhana council is the chairman of students’ senate and thus is the most powerful student in the campus for these administrative decisions. I have been asked a very interesting question – “How powerful is the Student Senate”. This is by far the most interesting question one has ever asked me. Thank you Hitesh Mahipal for raising this.

1.) Power in decision : The students’ senate acts as the central policy making body for all matters related to students’ activities. The Vice-President directs the appropriate persons, with approval from the President (DoSA), for the successful implementation of the decisions of Students’ Senate. The Vice president is the Joint Secretary of the Students’ Affairs Council (SAC) will be the apex policy making body under whose purview will be matters related to Gymkhana Council, Placement Cell and Alumni Affairs & External Relations. So the SAC makes policies and the senate has the power to take decisions to run the daily activity of student’s based on those policies. Point to note here is that the most of the agenda of SAC is from senate and thus students’ senate essentially writes and drives the policies made by SAC. And since all deans and Deputy director and director are members of SAC policies on almost any issue of non-academic life in the campus are dealt and not just the club events. So immense power of decision making lies indirectly in the student’s senate and directly in the SAC(which consists of VP and other Gen-Secs).

2.) Power in execution : The students senate is a part of students’ affairs section and the students directly deal only with the club and hostel activities. There are different sections for different tasks like the maintenance section, engineering section, academic section, establishment section, security section etc. For any decision to be formally executed a notice is drafted from Student Affair’s section and is sent to the required section through the required channel. There is increasing problem of co-ordination between the section and internal problems in the different sections which reflect out to the inefficiency of the system and the administrators. It is the need of the hour to improve the system in place. Since the students’ senate now has members who are devoid of club activities they can take up this task of working out with different sections to create processes for smooth execution. The head of the various sections are very co-operative and they will be happy to receive our help. So compared to the old system the power for execution of students’ senate is increased drastically.

3.) Power of members : The above two points only states what is in documents. But reality co-exists with documents only if the Vice-President and other senators are capable enough to understand the system and its processes, articulate their thoughts well, have the convincing capacity to put weight to their point, assess all the strings attached with a decision, empathetic skills to understand the opponents viewpoint in a debate, be bold and intellectual, have patience and be professional in whatever he is doing. One very important thing I have learned during my B.Tech life is that “Arguments don’t win, people do”. So irrespective of the powers given to students’ senate it is very important how well the senate utilizes its power. 

From my experience the Deans, chairman and all the other administrators do actually think for the benefit of the students (Contrary to the popular belief that they are anti-student). It is just that you may find their decisions sometimes too out of time or out of place. They might sometimes do take wrong decisions as we do but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are out of their mind. Now the Vice-President or the students Senate is given the full power and the right platform to get the decisions in their favour. I know many decisions that I took which DoSA was not happy with. He is kind enough to consider me an equal in the such kind of decisions and yes he has given such power and freedom to senate. And ofcourse there are decisions which all the student members opposed but are imparted. Its only my lack of experience, ability and clarity over the complete picture that I was not able to convince them to my point. 

So the power to students’ senate comes from the quality of its members. So choose your contestants wisely.

4.) Power in reflection : After the above three you might be wondering what’s left. The Students’ senate represents the whole of student community. Their impression is based on the acts of the junta which include all sort of good as well as bad things. I hear many people saying “Student body in IITG is very weak”. You have to understand that Students senate after all are students from the same junta. And saying that students’ senate is weak implies that you are not a capable community. By loving your students senate and keeping your faith in them you increase their power as your confidence in them is reflected while they make their arguments with the administrators(including SEC). By criticizing them continuously you decrease their power and image in front of the policy making body.

So from the long story above the conclusion is that power is immensely theoretical but depends on how the senate utilizes it.