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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

St Stephen’s hostel curfew stays, students miffed at ‘autocracy’

Mallica Joshi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 03, 2013
First Published: 00:06 IST(3/4/2013) | Last Updated: 00:08 IST(3/4/2013)

St Stephen’s College principal Valson Thampu has refused to relax the hostel timings for women.

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During a general body meeting with students on March 25, the principal  -- in addition to refusing the request of the students to not lock the women’s hostel block after 10 pm -- also made an annual interview mandatory for all hostel residents.

From the next academic session onwards, every hosteller would have to appear for an interview where she/he will be judged on the basis of academic performance, attendance and interest in college life.

“This is nothing but an intimidating tactic to ensure that students do not protest against what is wrong. How exactly will the principal quantify something like ‘interest in college life?’” said a student who attended the meeting but did not wish to be named.  

The issue came to the fore last month when women residents of the hostel protested against being locked up in their blocks after 10 pm, while the men were allowed to move around freely. The disillusioned students, who attended the meeting, also claimed that the Thampu stated that discrimination was possible only between equals and claimed that “women and men were different as eggs and stones”. “These sort of sexist statements is unbecoming the principal of such a
prestigious institution.

Also, calling the hostel facility a privilege is not correct. We are not getting the hostel free of cost. We are actually paying a huge amount each year to stay here. You cannot threaten students like this. This is autocracy,” another student added. Thampu, students claimed, also allegedly said curbing women’s movement helps them improve academically and anyone who opposed the curfew was not serious about their studies.


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