St Stephen’s move to hand over boys’ hostel to girls sparks debate
The issue of converting one of the four boys hostels at St. Stephen’s College into one meant for female students has resurfaced again. In a bid to fulfill the long-standing need of increasing hostel accommodation for female students, the college is now attempting to allocate seats in Rudra North block —earlier occupied by boys — to its girl students for the new academic year.
However, sources say that implementation could hit a rough patch, as members of the Governing Body (GB) are unhappy with the “method adopted by the college authorities for the ratification of this decision”.
A letter by Protem Administrator M.S. Frank asking for ratification of the conversion attempt is currently being circulated among the Governing Body members for their signatures.
“All members of the staff are in favour of this move. We are also not against conversion, but this issue should actually be discussed and passed at a meeting of the Governing Body. Moreover, if there is a letter asking our consent then it should be written by the chairperson of the body and not the Protem Administrator. This sets a wrong precedent,” said a member of the Governing Body.
Debates over the conversion of a boys hostel into one meant for girls have been going on for a while and the last proposal made by Reverand Valson Thamphu at a Governing Body meeting was shot down in February this year.
“A sub-committee consisting four members was then formed to provide the right rationale for converting the boys hostel,” said a member. This sub-committee had reviewed and passed the decision recently, informed a teacher on conditions of anonymity.
The college has six hostel buildings named after its former principals. Allnutt South and Rudra South were two boys hostel which have been converted into girls hostels.
Though Protem Dean K.M. Mathew confirmed that the college is making an attempt to allocate Rudra North block seats to female students, he refused to comment further. “I would not like to say anything more unless it’s actually implemented,” he said.
The male occupants of Rudra North block have vacated the hostel and have been accommodated in the other three boys blocks.
Justifying the college authorities’ attempt to obtain ratification through a letter circulation a teacher said, “The authorities are very committed to make the new move come through. The reason why they are trying to ratify it by circulating a letter is because the academic session begins soon and the Bishop cannot call a meeting as he’s out of town.”