Wardens contemplate ban on entry of girls into boys’ rooms; students oppose restriction

IIT-Madras is going the way of other higher education institutes in the country. And students are not happy.

The premier institution will soon impose restrictions on the entry of girls into boys’ hostels. This was confirmed at a meeting of hostel wardens with student representatives on Saturday, students said.

This comes barely three days after nearly 60% of students voted against strict rules in this regard at a gathering organised by The Colloquium, a debating forum run by IIT-M students. Currently, girls are allowed into boys hostels between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. while there is a strict ban on boys’ entry into girls’ rooms.

Students said they received a mail from their representatives which indicated the motivation behind the rule was some past untoward incident that happened on the campus leading to parents/guardians blaming wardens.

Institute authorities have assured students that each hostel will be provided a visitors’ lounge where girls and boys can interact. “But no entry into rooms will be allowed,” the mail said.

Of late, some wardens have completely restricted the entry of girls into boys’ hostels. In some hostels, even mothers of students are not allowed. But, there was no blanket ban as the onus was on the wardens to take specific action, a student said.

The students had an inkling of the impending ban, he said, and their fierce opposition to it was reflected in the votes during the Colloquium meet on Tuesday. “It is strange that the wardens took this decision despite an overwhelming number of students voting against restrictions. After all, some months ago, the director himself had assured students that no rule would be implemented without the consent of students,” he said

Students who received the mail were angry. “We live in hostels to make our own decisions, learn from mistakes and grow. Such pseudo-parenting will never give us the space we need to mature into responsible adults,” a student said. “Some of us were fine with the present timings and restrictions but a blanket ban is too much,” another student said.

Most technical institutions including Anna University and other engineering colleges have strict rules regarding entry into hostels and timings.

A member of the council of wardens said the proposal would be placed before the dean and director. “We want our campus to be balanced in terms of gender-specific rules. We will listen to opinions before we decide,” the member said.

A professor said the decision was taken in view of the safety of students.

“We are responsible for them and want to make sure some decorum in maintained,” he said.

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