Students at Panjab University, Chandigarh, accused the university of unfairness as it issued a new hostel handbook for the year 2019-2022 that mentioned that students will face expulsion from hostel after two warnings if they are found absent at night.
No fine will be imposed for being late but attendance is compulsory between 9pm-10pm.
Entry has to be made in the mobility register if any student is moving out of the hostel after 10pm.
If a hosteller fails to follow the rules, the warden may issue a written warning.
Just last year, the girls’ hostel got round-the-clock timings after a number of candle light marches, hunger strikes and a long struggle by students.
Abhimanyu Kanwat, a hosteller for three years said, “This is unfair. The residents should have their liberty to move around anytime they want. In this case we will now have to manage our time schedule as per the time of attendance.”
Talking about the entry register being open to a third party, he added, “Everyone is a grown up here. We don’t need this kind of tab. This issue has always had different views from even within the student community.”
Shubham Mahajan, a hostel resident holds a different view on the topic. He feels that the rule is fine if it is only to keep track of a person’s presence on the campus.
“Maintaining an entry register is good for developing an open culture in the university where everyone is free but there is also a record of movement,” he added.
Female students have generally always been the central point of any conversation in the university related to hostels.
Be it their struggle to bring about gender neutral hostel rules or their struggle to be themselves in the face of always being told what to do and what not to do in hostels via notices.
A female student who has been a hostel resident for two years said, “The decision to keep hostels open round-the-clock is good. The time period allotted to mark the attendance should be extended. Attendance cannot be a reason to expel someone.”
Emanual Nahar, Dean Student Welfare, PU, defended the rule and said, “This was there last year too and the students did not face any problem. Sometimes parents ask the authorities about the whereabouts of their ward. It is just a mobility register. Nobody is going to ask you where you are going. The wardens have been instructed to deal with the students in a polite and friendly manner. The rule is not there to harass students but for their safety.”
An official statement issued by Student For Society, PU, (SFS) said this rule will not be gender neutral and will be forced upon girls.
“Expulsion is the new tool for gender discrimination inside the campus. Earlier a fine was charged but now, since the authorities cannot justify the fine, they have found a new tool. If anything happens to any female student, the authorities will shrug off their shoulders by showing an ‘absent’ in the attendance register. That is why they have implemented it,” said the statement.