As per the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT Delhi) Board resolution, we will be establishing an Office of Diversity and Inclusion which the new Dean will head. Through this we seek to celebrate existing diversity on campus, to document its benefits to the community and to create a more inclusive environment for everyone.
This work is important, because as Justice DY Chandrachud put it (Navtej Johar judgment, 2018, para 148) “Our Constitution, above all, is an essay in the acceptance of diversity. It is founded on a vision of an inclusive society which accommodates plural ways of life.”
The broad mandate of the office is to work on gender, sexuality, caste, language, disability and mental health, to foster greater inclusion. Much of this work is currently being done at the Institute: for example, Initiative for Gender Equality and Sensitization (IGES) has been active for a few years now. NSS is quite active in addressing the mental health issues among students, in addition to the Student Welfare office. The new Office of Diversity and Inclusion will consolidate these ongoing activities and sensitize the campus community to the needs of marginalized sections. Last year, we started providing support to students with disabilities through the Office of Accessible Education (OAE). Further, our counseling services (CS) are no longer only for students. The number of IIT Delhi community members reaching out to them has been rising, indicating a positive change in health seeking behaviour for mental health issues.
The Dean (Diversity and Inclusion) is expected to provide visibility, leadership and coherence to this important work, and to ensure that we can do this in a more sustained manner.