The Jawaharlal Nehru University is considering granting extra points to the transgender students who apply for admission in it. The university has already taken several steps to include alternative genders on campus.
In early 2015 a committee was formed whose task was to deliberate on providing extra “deprivation points” to several categories. The committee submitted its proposal to the Academic Council in the beginning of December. Ajay Kumar Patnaik, a JNU professor and one of the members of the committee said,” We have proposed four deprivation points for transgender students, among others. But there is still some debate on whether it should be four or five points. If the council passes the proposal, it will be implemented from the next academic session.”
The JNU students, especially the in-campus queer group have welcomed the step. In the word of Gaurav Gosh, a member of Dhanak, JNU’s queer group,” If this proposal is passed, it will be a commendable move. But such deprivation points should also be there for the teaching and non-teaching community, especially since we now have a transgender principal in the country.” However, he insisted that some practical things need to be done for such an embrace of alternative genders.
Ghosh added,” There are no unisex toilets on campus. There is also no clarity on which hostel transgender students will be accommodated in and who will be their roommates. These issues need to be looked at.”
JNU already has “deprivation points” as a part of its admission policy for the students belonging to backward areas, Kashmiri migrants, women and applicants from the defence category.
JNU has already included a transgender option in the gender column of its admission forms as mandated by the University Grants Commission after a Supreme Court verdict in 2014 that declared them the third gender. In addition the university has also taken several steps for gender inclusion. The university introduced the third gender option in the JNU students’ union poll forms in 2014 and in 2015 the university revamped its GSCASH (Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment) logo in order to include the alternative genders.