ChintaBAR, a student activist collective at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, has written to the Dean of Students (DoS) raising concerns regarding the dissolution of the wellness centre. Sharing this on Instagram, the collective shared a screenshot of the email sent on December 3.
The email read, “Thorugh your mail on 30th November 2023, we came to know that the existing wellness center is being dissolved and restructured into a new one operated by a third party. We would like to bring to your attention the fact that this sudden transition has raised several concerns amongst both the students at the receiving end of the existing wellness centre and the MITR team.”
“Many of these concerns are due to the abruptness of the transition and the lack of clarity in this regard,” it added, highlighting the major concerns that require immediate attention. As per the post, the demands and major concerns are:
1. To give operational independence to the Wellness Center from the Dost office rather than outsourcing it to a third party. While an expansion of the Institute wellness centre through outsourcing is understandable, it is important to keep in mind that permanent-institute appointed psychologists are essential for a stable and accountable wellness environment on the campus. A complete transfer of the system to third-party actors as decided now raises concerns regarding the volatility and accountability of the new system
2. The sudden transition will force students to change their existing counsellor & confidant from the erstwhile wellness centre. This would mean a change from a professional they’re comfortable with to a new one and this has caused increased anxiety and uncertainty to many students.
3. While a smooth transition was promised, the lack of transparency and proper communication has created a lot of confusion and uncertainty among students who were in consultation with the erstwhile wellness centre.
Lastly, the student community alleges that such a drastic change might affect hundreds of students who are currently at the receiving end of the erstwhile system, who would be forced to start the process again from scratch with new psychologists. “It is of utmost importance to take into consideration the opinion of students and to maintain transparency while taking such a drastic decision,” the student community stressed.