Faced with ‘moral policing’ charges, Hyderabad varsity offers to build co-ed hotel on campus | telangana | Hindustan Times
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Faced with ‘moral policing’ charges, Hyderabad varsity offers to build co-ed hotel on campus

The proposal follows the recent suspension of 10 students, three of them for a period of two years, on charges of “intimidating” university officials who objected to the presence of a female student in a men’s hostel room.

telangana Updated: Nov 10, 2017 13:04 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
University of Hyderabad authorities have been at loggerheads with its students for a while now. Agitations had broken out on the campus last year, after Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula committed suicide.
University of Hyderabad authorities have been at loggerheads with its students for a while now. Agitations had broken out on the campus last year, after Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula committed suicide.(PTI File)

University of Hyderabad authorities have come up with a novel strategy to counter attempts to paint them as “moral policing” autocrats on the campus. They have proposed to set up a co-educational hostel facility as long as it has the approval of both students and their parents.

The proposal follows the recent suspension of 10 students, three of them for a period of two years, on charges of “intimidating” university officials who objected to the presence of a female student in a men’s hostel room.

“The university will undertake a comprehensive exercise to elicit the views of all relevant stakeholders – including students and parents – about the kind of residential facilities they would like the university to provide. If a majority feels that students should stay in a co-ed hostel, the university might consider creating such a space and allow students to formally register for accommodation,” an official spokesperson of the University said.

The students, however, were far from impressed. “The proposal has nothing to do with the manner in which the students were suspended. This is being done just to divert attention from the arbitrary and undemocratic action taken against them,” Poickadan Sreerag, president of the University of Hyderabad Students’ Union, told HT.

Sreerag said an inquiry should have been conducted and action taken as per due procedure if a female student was found in the men’s hostel. “One of the wardens who claimed to have conducted surprise raids at the men’s hostel on November 3 midnight made a sexist remark that triggered the clash. They are talking about establishing a co-ed hostel to cover up their fault,” he added.

The university spokesperson said women staying in rooms meant for male students was clearly against hostel regulations. “It is standard practice across all educational institutions in India to have gender-segregated hostels for students, with a clear set of rules prescribed for their administration. Even the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s hostel manual explicitly prohibits men from staying in women’s hostel rooms and vice-versa,” he pointed out.

The spokesperson said that while a co-ed hostel facility could be created if required, it was not a process likely to be completed overnight. “Until then, the student community should avoid blatantly breaking rules and respect common residential and study spaces belonging to all students and other sections of the University community without raising the bogey of moral policing,” he added.

Meanwhile, the students’ union has called for a demonstration at Velivada – a make-shift protest site created in the shopping complex of the university – to demand the revocation of the suspension order and an impartial inquiry into the incident.