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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Varsity wants to make you feel safer

Bhavya Dore, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, January 11, 2013
First Published: 01:00 IST(11/1/2013) | Last Updated: 01:01 IST(11/1/2013)

Do you feel safe on your college campus? Do you think the security arrangements are adequate? If our answer is no, you now have a chance to voice your grievances.

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With rising incidents of crime against women, the Women’s Development Cell of Mumbai University is planning to ask all affiliated colleges to address the issue of safety for women students on campus and encourage them to speak up against any problems on January 23.

Colleges will be asked to put up suggestion boxes for students to drop in their comments, problems and complaints.  The boxes may be kept till February 13.

“These measures will instill confidence among students and increase awareness about the women’s cells,” said Kranti Jejurkar, chairperson of the women’s cell, which is organising the initiative along with the National Service Scheme.

Institutions are responding to the issue of women’s safety on campus through a series of measures, including empowered complaint cells, sensitisation workshops and improved surveillance.

Last week, the University Grants Commission set up a task force after “the spate of recent disturbing events” and with a view to “review the existing arrangements”.

Similarly, a circular from the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) asked colleges to form an anti-harassment cell headed by a senior female teacher to handle grievances. “Any grievances or complaints can be made here to ensure the problem is brought to light,” said MA Khan, director of Sydenham Institute of Management Studies.

At college level, various precautions and measures are being implemented. While Thadomal Shahani Engineering College in Bandra has been asking students not to loiter around in college after 6pm, Nirmala Memorial Foundation College in Kandivli has been conducting workshops for girls.

Likewise, SNDT University has been conducting seminars, panel discussions and workshops.

 “There is so much anger among the girls,” said Vibhuti Patel, an economics professor and activist. “Everyone wants to speak up and has a story to tell. Girls are now ready to fight back.”

A forum of college principals wrote to Mumbai University and other government authorities with suggestions for implementing more stringent measures on campuses. These included increased security, additional CCTV cameras, and clearing the area outside college of hawkers, as well as curricular activities such as gender workshops.


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