For my project 5 in Public relations manual, I was supposed to deliver a speech before the press handling an organisational crisis. Initially I chose Kudankulam crisis, but in the days before this speech, news about couple of suicide Chennai’s touted colleges moved me to chose this. It felt bad to learn that a girl who made it to the coveted college in the state, from economically backward village was unable to cope up with studies due to language differences and chose to end her life, feeling guilty of not able to stand up to her parents dreams. I have had an arrear in my I semester, and I could relate to how it feels. But looking back it was neither my mistake nor the marks mattered.I wish it’s the same with the girl and I wish some one told her about it. I feel we don’t let our students/children handle failure and we want them to succeed at all occasions. Our interpretation of success is related with the numbers.
Here goes my project speech… I was impacted by these news then, and my delivery was emotional reflection of the same placing myself as a senior staff in the institute.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am Prof.Deepak Pandian standing before you as Public Relations officer for Elite Institute of Technology.
As you are aware, we have had few untoward incidents within our campus in the last year. Four suicide attempts , couple of which ended up in death. Last week Ms.XXXXX Ist year student of civil engineering committed suicide by hanging herself.
Being a parent myself, I know and realize the magnitude of this implacable loss. On behalf of the entire student and staff fraternity , I express my condolence and also apologize for our inability to prevent it.Medical reports on both these incidents have confirmed it to be suicide. However the reason behind them is yet to be ascertained. We have formed a committee comprising of professors and student leaders to find out what led these students to take such extreme decisions. Until then I request media and general public to refrain from making any speculations.
Life has been tough for these young minds due to varied reasons from increased exposure to peer pressure. They are vulnerable as they are leading a transitional phase of life intellectually and biologically. Whether it is academic pressure or personal relationship ,adaptation and acceptance are the keys to survival. Its very sad to learn that in this institute where hundreds of professors and thousands of students are around, few of these students were made to feel alone and miserable.
Students arent comfortable in confiding everything to professors. Hence we had a visiting psychiatrist , but its apparent by the records neither the students nor the staff used his services to the fullest. We have been negligent on emotional needs of the students.Not anymore, we have requested the dean for a permanent residential counselor and students welfare will be followed up.
Empowerment through freedom has been the way of life in this campus for 150 years. Be it academics or personal life we trust and encourage the students to make their personal choices. Now we have come across few instances where freedom was misunderstood and misused. Hence we are forced to place certain restrictions in hostel premises. I request students to co-operate with it and I assure that these restrictions will be lifted once we regain the trust in students community.
I also request students to inform when they find some one feeling depressed. I also request parents to make some efforts to understand the minds of younger generation and see them for the hope they have within them rather then looking at them as a means of our wishes.
Elite institute of technology have been known for its fame in academics and creating extraordinary citizens for the society and we would like to be the same.Once again I express my heartfelt condolence to the family members of those students and assure the family members of the rest, that their wards are in safe hands.Thank you.
PS: Teachers have “super power”. Be it a 5 year old primary school kid or a 25 year old graduate student, if the teacher has managed to gain reverence in the students heart, the students will become more attached to them. But these incidents only highlight that the gap between students and teachers are widening.