A notice put up at Delhi University’s Miranda House College, meant for School of Open Learning (SOL) students who attend Sunday classes there, suggests that a student can be suspended for a day if she is found “clicking selfies, combing her hair or modelling in the gallery”. These activities, the notice states, amount to “misutilisation” of time meant for studying.
“Miranda House College and its teachers are always fighting to ensure your higher education. We hope that women students benefit from this opportunity and focus on academics. Many women have been seen taking selfies, combing their hair and modelling in the gallery. This is misutilisation of time. The college does not give permission for this. If any student is found misutilising their time, they will be suspended from the classes held on that particular day, and will be made to leave the college premises,” reads the unsigned notice in Hindi, put up at the college main gate, under the name of coordinator, SOL/PCP (personal contact programme) centre, Miranda House College.
About 1,200-1,500 SOL students attend classes at Miranda House on Sundays and official holidays, except Independence Day and Republic Day. Most classes are taught by teachers from outside the college.
SOL director C S Dubey said SOL had nothing to do with the notice. When contacted, college principal Pratibha Jolly confirmed that the notice was drafted by college staff after an internal discussion, but said it was merely “suggestive” since it did not bear anyone’s signature.
“Students perch dangerously on parapet walls to take selfies. They were gently advised by staff to focus on attending classes. The college has been working towards empowering SOL students and is keen to provide them the best learning and skill enhancement opportunities…,” Jolly said.
A senior college official, who did not wish to be identified, explained, “Students hang from poles and pillars, sometimes they even vandalise property. A stone light near the cafeteria was broken. They put up these photos publicly, and since Miranda House buildings are so easily recognisable, people may think no serious studies take place here.”
An SOL student, who did not wish to be named, said the same rules should apply to regular students as well. “There is not enough space in classrooms, so some people sit in the lawn while waiting for the next class. What is the harm in taking selfies?” she said. Another student enrolled in the BA (Programme) course claimed, “Last Sunday, a girl was clicking a selfie while entering the college, and the guard told her not to enter.”
Aarti from the Krantikari Yuva Sangathan called the notice “misogynistic” and said that they would take it up with the Delhi Commission for Women.