Mud in the Moon

- Arjun Lokireddy, Sayan Sahay , Journal Club



On the midnight of 21st February 2018, the SMC announced a “Moonlight dinner1” scheduled for 25th of the same month. It was intended to be a ‘delightful dinner to promote student-faculty interaction’. However, the general body was evidently disappointed as the dinner certainly failed to justify the hype surrounding it. The SMC@BPHC2 group was flooded with a plethora of complaints ranging from sub-standard food quality to dusty conditions around the dining area following the dinner.

The menu only had trivial additions compared to a traditional gala dinner with many complaining that the food was what they’d have gotten on any other Sunday night and the cost wasn’t justified given that the snacks were canceled for the day.

If you look at it, the event was already gaining quite a buzz even before it started owing to the ambiguity surrounding the menu till the very last moment3, and the uncertainty of any opt-out procedure for the dinner. To clarify the latter, a comment was dropped on the main post to which none of the SMC members replied4. In fact, a reply suggesting to opt for a grace on Sunday showed up, and that too wasn’t ratified by any of those in the SMC. To investigate into this, we decided to write two emails to the SWD office on the 2nd of March asking for the status of the graces applied for 25th February, to which we still await a response as of 12th March 2018. Later that day when asked, Mess-1 officials confirmed to us that all graces applied for 25th February were canceled without any prior notice to the general body. No notice was pinned on the boards as of 2nd March and neither of the mess officials directed us towards any form of official communication to confirm it.

The original post regarding the dinner announced that it would be organized by Aditya Caterers, which lead us to ask: “Why not Shakthi caterers (Mess-2)?” Mess-2 officials5 told us that they had been given the responsibility to host a second Moonlight Dinner scheduled in the first week of April. This was decided along with the first MLD. This too was done without general body’s consensus.

Now the above revelations trigger some grave concerns about the actions of the current SMC. Firstly, why was the MLD compulsory? And even if it was, why not consider having a poll for the date as it is done for a gala dinner6. An additional amount was deducted from our mess balances7 which brings us to our next question. Do mess deductions need the approval of the general body8? If not, who decides how much to deduct and for what? More importantly, where do we draw the line? If a ₹ 100 deduction for something like Arena justifies a GBM, then why not have one for a ₹ 62 deduction for an MLD.

The questions we want to ask are essentially;
1. Why was it compulsory?
2. Why didn’t I get to choose the date?
3. Why is there a second one?
4. Who approved the deduction from my account?

According to the Constitution9, the SMC is only a communication channel between the mess and the students10 but clearly, their role seems to have evolved to deal with more. It would be beneficial to the general body if the roles and responsibilities of various bodies were updated with time.

1. Abbreviated to MLD,
4. see second comment
5. The manager of Mess-2 told us some details of the proposed dinner; 500 plates would be made available for faculty and staff at no cost to them, the price of the second dinner would be the same, but the menu was yet to be decided.
7. 119 + 31 (additional for the MLD), this is including no snacks for the day.
FT3 category: Transactions other than those specified in FT1 and FT2 categories (intra-college activities).
The President shall be solely responsible for all financial matters and statements pertaining to FT1 category and FT3 category.
3. Minor budget propositions must be presented to the CRC. The CRC reserves the right to suggest changes in the budget or reject the proposal.
3.The SMC shall serve as the communication channel between the mess caterers and the Union.