Offline Ashoka: Crisis of Space – A Summary
by Vedaansh Uberoi (UG ’23)
Note: This article is a summarization of the information that was available in the public domain.
On October 20th, the Dean of Student Affairs sent out a residence life notification restoring the movement of students between Residence Halls (in accordance with the existing residence life policies), or in other words, cross access, from 8:00 am on 1st November.
An email addressed to the administration members was sent out to the Ashoka community on October 12th appealing for reinstatement of cross access and opening access to vital campus spaces followed by a mass email spamming on October 14th. The next day the SG sent out an email informing the student body that DSA would issue an update regarding the status of cross access in the following couple of days.
The email on the 12th was sent by Biplob Kumar Das, an ASP student and former Prakrit member regarding the shutting down of common spaces on campus including the Old Academic block, the New Academic Block, the Science block, the new Library building, all of which are shut down after 6 pm. This leads to the overcrowding of common rooms which is a cause of concern since it increases the chances of COVID outbreaks. Moreover, weekly fumigation activity further limits the space available making rooms and common rooms inaccessible for several hours during the weekend.
There were concerns raised regarding the inaccessibility of the old and the new library which is hindering students’ research work and should be opened considering the students’ fees spent on constructing the latter. There were also questions raised about the absence of cross access; the move was termed as an ‘archaic prohibition’ which is leading to crowding in the mess or other common spaces. The mail ended with a demand for making student spaces accessible and/or cross access being reinstated, and a list of signatories, the number for which has now reached 416 (as of 30/10/21).
Following the mail, on October 14th, a mass email spamming to the admin was organized by students which echoed the demands for reinstatement of cross access and allowing access to campus resources such as classrooms, and library 24/7.
The next day, on October 15th, the student government sent out an email informing that they had been in communication with the Vice-Chancellor and DSA regarding reinstating cross access on campus. The email said that the admin is working on ways to create a more collaborative space for students on campus ensuring strict COVID protocols to prevent any outbreaks. And while they were occupied with ensuring a smooth arrival for the final list of students that were yet to arrive on campus, the Dean of Student Affairs will be sending out an update email regarding the status of cross access in the next two days(from October 15th) along with the possible date of its reinstatement.
On October 20th, the Dean of Student Affairs sent out a residence life notification restoring the movement of students between Residence Halls (in accordance with the existing residence life policies), or in other words, cross-access, from 8:00 am on 1st November (time clarified in a later email). Further notifications were sent by the admin about opening a few classrooms for studies and extending library work hours till 7.30 pm (Monday to Friday) w.e.f. 25th October onwards. All these measures are being taken to address the concerns of the students and provide a comfortable and safe study space for a better learning experience.
**Edit: An update by the Campus Life Ministry notified the student body about the provision for non-access floors being unavailable for the time being. Hence, all floors in all Residence Halls are access floors.