Giving Month | Inclusivity and Diversity at NLSIU
February 19, 2022
Giving Month is an initiative to provide the alumni community updates on key initiatives at NLSIU, and invite their support in jointly achieving the University’s development goals.
Each week of February will delve deeper into a separate focus area for the University’s development. This week’s focus is Sustainability & Student Welfare. To contribute to these initiatives at NLSIU, please click here.
One of the fundamental tenets of providing transformational education at NLSIU is ensuring inclusivity on campus. The University endeavours to provide every student with a safe space along with opportunities to thrive.
As a starting point, the process of admission into the University can offer access to our classrooms to a wider set of students. As part of the NLSIU Inclusion and Expansion Plan 2021-25, the University will admit students from various marginalized and disadvantaged sections while expanding the overall University student intake in a phased manner.
Over the next three academic years, the University will implement its new inclusion policy that provides for reservations. On a vertical basis, 15% seats will be reserved for students from Scheduled Caste families, 7.5% for students from Scheduled Tribe families, 27% for Other Backward Classes and 10% seats for students from Economically Weaker Sections. On a horizontal basis across all seats, 5% of all intake will be reserved for Persons with Disability 25% for students with Karnataka domicile and 30% for women students. Once the vertical categories are filled, the horizontal categories will be applied for the final selection.
NLSIU’s efforts at inclusivity for diversity take various forms including active academic and wellbeing measures, facilitated both through faculty and peer support.
Registrar Dr. Nigam Nuggehalli explained, “At NLSIU, we are conscious about the fact that students come from diverse academic and cultural backgrounds, into a fairly competitive environment. It is natural that some students will need reassurance and support. We want to ensure that students who enter the law college ecosystem are able to thrive. We view diversity as an opportunity to do things differently, because every student has something unique to offer.”
As we are set to welcome a larger student body in the coming years, their learning environment has to be made vibrant and supportive both within and outside the classroom. A few initiatives which have been rolled out on this front already are:
NLSIU is committed to ensuring that no student admitted to any of our programmes should have to discontinue their education because of financial constraints. Over the last two years, the University has strengthened financial aid for deserving students through the institution of several privately-funded and alumni-funded scholarships. In 2021, NLSIU made the largest financial aid disbursal in the University’s history. The disbursal amounted to approximately Rs 60 lakhs that benefitted 45 students in the B.A., LL.B., (Hons.), LL.M and MPP programmes.
Office of Student Affairs
The University set up the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) in early 2020. Student Welfare Officer Apoorva Gupta, supervises the activities of the OSA, which was instrumental in the University’s support for students during the pandemic. On the objectives of setting up this Office, Dr. Nigam said, “Understanding and responding to student needs, be it academic, cultural or extra-curricular, requires institutional support. The OSA acts as a bridge between students and faculty; and among students. Over the last year, it has rolled out a wide range of counselling services for students, both remotely and in-person. Giving voice to student concerns that may not have found the right platform earlier, the OSA has made NLSIU a vibrant and inclusive space, where students feel comfortable to discuss concerns as well as promote and encourage common interests.”
Last year, the University launched an educational support programme to assist students who need academic and personal support to aid their academic progress. The programme engages students individually to enhance core academic skills and provide curricular and extra-curricular support where needed, and to ensure that all students can benefit from the transformative potential of an NLSIU education.
The 10-month programme aligns with the academic year and follows a systematic approach where students have regular meetings with the Student Welfare Officer to develop an individualised programme, with the Vice-Chancellor to share their progress, with a faculty member who is the Academic Counsellor, and the SBA Mentor (designated students) to enable peer-to-peer support and guidance. This is augmented by a 9-month long writing programme, mental health support and extra-curricular research projects.
Equal Opportunity Cell
NLSIU has a zero-tolerance policy towards discrimination. The Equal Opportunity Cell (EOC) has been set up to monitor our adherence to these standards, particularly relating to marginalisation and exclusion of minority groups, including those based on caste, religion, ethnicity, sexuality and gender. The EOC also proactively works on discrimination policies, grievance redressal procedures, and sensitisation programmes for the NLSIU community. The committee constitutes faculty members Prof. Babu Mathew as Convener, Dr. Nagarathna A and Ms. Sharadha Shinde.
Student Initiatives for Peer Support
NLSIU boasts of a host of student-led initiatives and clubs that have been formed on campus, many of which are aligned with contemporary issues, concerns and interests. Activities organised by these clubs allow students to discover community on campus, and membership can be a formative experience in collective advocacy. Among the student committees are the Academic Support Programme (ASP), NLS Queer Alliance (NLSQA) and the Savitri Phule Ambedkar Caravan (SPAC).Other student committees too have been actively looking to encourage broad-based participation.
Discussing how the Moot Court Society (MCS) has taken measures to facilitate widening of their pool of students, faculty advisor for MCS, Raag Yadava (BA LLB 2013) said, “Mooting has always had this reputation of being an elitist activity. We are working to make it more accessible for students from varied backgrounds. This academic year, for the first time at NLSIU, we introduced a structured mentorship programme to help students prepare and improve their skills for moots.”
Read more about NLSIU’s student committees here.
Digital Scholarship Programme
In an accessibility measure that goes beyond the campus, this year, the Library will launch its Digital Scholarship Programme which will offer need-based scholarships to 100 deserving candidates across the country to access digital resources on an annual basis.
To contribute and read more updates on NLSIU’s sustainability and student welfare initiatives, please click here.
To read other ‘Alumni Giving Month’ features, please click here.