The students of Pondicherry University on Sunday night staged a protest outside the Girls’ Hostel demanding that the university set up a gender sensitivity committee to check sexual harassment.

According to one of the students who participated in the protest, the students are demanding that timing restrictions at the ladies hostel be lifted. The girls who enter the hostel after 10 p.m. are often subjected to demeaning comments from security guards. Often, outsiders enter the campus and create problems. No action is being taken against these people, but students are being checked unnecessarily. “The gate around the girls’ hostel is called the ‘Gender Gate’, which reflects the preconceived notion of the authorities. On the whole, there is a kind of gender insensitivity on the campus which needs to be abolished,” one student said.

All the students here are over 18 years of age, but are treated like little kids. When a man and a girl hold a conversation, snide comments are passed by security persons, another student said.

Vice-Chancellor Chandra Krishnamurthy said the university was looking to improve security for students. As a first step it would install CCTV cameras at the entrance and in other important areas. As for timing restrictions for girls, however, she said there were certain rules that were enforced and though the students needed liberty, it was not possible to dispense with rules. She would hold talks with students to ensure a balance between discipline on the campus and students’ freedom, she said.