The right method of selection

responsible leaders
Last Updated 23 October 2013, 14:06 IST

There’s no denying the role that students’ council plays in day-to-day campus activity.

These students shoulder a host of varied responsibilities, ranging from putting together college events to finding sponsorship for fests and functioning as a bridge between the faculty and students of the institution.

In fact, being continuously involved in campus activities is no mean feat – members of the student council also have to ensure that they’re always accessible to the student body of the college, addressing any problems they might face and ensuring that the academic year passes as smoothly as possible.

Different colleges in the City have very different methods of selecting their student council, though. While some go for the traditional campaign-and-elect model, which students across the City seem to prefer, other colleges avoid this process and stick to nomination by the faculty instead.

Some institutes have, through a trial-and-error method, evolved a system which combines elements of both to ensure that the body is selected in the fairest and most hassle-free way possible. Metrolife speaks to a few students and teachers to find out the different methods through which they pick their leaders.

In Baldwin Women’s Methodist College, the system has varied. While the college used to have student elections several years back, the practice was briefly stopped. “There were many reasons. We wanted to avoid controversy, so we opted for a selection process instead — class and subject teachers would select the student council based on various categories like attendance. Later, we realised that we were effectively taking away the students’ rights.

So, for the last two years we’ve elections again, with certain rules,” explains Abraham, a professor with the college. He goes on to add that the faculty carefully monitors the campaigning and voting process to ensure that it doesn’t go out of hand. “We don’t allow hooting, vandalism or any form of threatening during the campaigns.

Candidates are allowed a one-hour period in the afternoon to campaign and it is restricted to the college campus, where teachers can monitor them. Pamphlets cannot be issued but the students are allowed to put up posters and banners with their slogans. If anything goes out of control — which, honestly, never happens — there is a discipline committee to handle the situation,” he adds. The college follows a computerised voting system to cut down on any room for mistakes.

Other colleges are in the process of formulating the right way to pick out their council. Nithin, a student of Global Academy of Technology, says that there hasn’t been a formally-elected student council in the college before. “We had a lot of interested students who would help organise individual fests but no student council as such.

We’ve floated the idea to the principal and we’ll be having one for the first time this year. We have to discuss the procedure through which we select the council once the academic year starts. But we would prefer an election process over nomination — after all, the council represents the students, not teachers,” he explains.

In HKBK College of Engineering, the council comprises representatives — one male and one female — from each class. Syed Mustafa, professor and head of the ISE department, says, “The process is completely based on the students’ choice. We ask students to nominate themselves from each class and if there is more than one candidate, then a poll is conducted.”

Clearly, students across the City prefer electing their own council — a system which more and more colleges and trying to incorporate into their selection process.

(Published 23 October 2013, 14:06 IST)

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