In a shocking move, a premier education institution in Lucknow forbade all female employees and faculty members from staying on campus beyond 6 pm. Sadly we aren’t talking about school, tuition center or a college, but a central university. Yes, you read it right! Recently, the VC (vice-chancellor) of BBAU (Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University) issued this order in writing on Monday. The media grabbed a copy of the written order from the University. The VC, Mr. R.C. Sobti believes this is the best possible solution they could’ve devised to ensure the safety of women on campus.
The VC’s decision raises serious questions about the safety measures implemented by the university. Also, it highlights the poor law and order condition in the state, despite the much-feared reign of the newly elected chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath.
Are the conditions so drastic in UP that the University head had to pass a bizarre order like this? Have the police failed to ensure woman safety on campus? Seeing the sorry state of affairs, fearful parents wouldn’t send their daughters to the universities for pursuing higher education.
If the university spokesperson Mr. Govind Pandey is to be believed, the VC took this decision in the interest of the female staff. Recently, a few women underwent a series of unfortunate incidents on campus. To prevent a repeat of such episodes, the VC had asked female staff not to stay in office after 6 pm. If an employee or a student wishes to stay back after the deadline, they need to seek permission from their head of the department.
Agitated employees and students of the university saw it as an attempt to restrict their freedom. Requesting anonymity, an officer raised questions on the intent. Bitter females asked if the management wanted to shut them out in the name of safety. Despite installing CCTVs worth Rs 1 crore, the authorities failed to protect the women.
A few staff members believe it would hinder work, especially in the hospitals. The female doctors can’t work in night shifts. Conditions are somewhat similar in the hostels. The university has a scholar room reserved for all students, regardless of the gender. The room was open till 11 pm so that students can study in a peaceful environment. The 8-pm curfew will put an end to group discussions and combined study sessions.
Rather than strengthening safety measures and discouraging eve teasing, we’re forced to control the freedom of women in college campuses. Is this the right decision for a university that spreads knowledge in the society?