“The teachers should dress exactly like a person living in a civilised society would dress in public,”said the notice
Hindu College principal Pradyum Kumar has clarified that the notice asking teachers to “come properly attired” is “not a dress code nor an order but a request that the teachers maintain a decent appearance while appearing in the staff room”.
Dr. Kumar said the teachers should dress “exactly like a person living in a civilised society would dress in public”.
The notice, circulated among the staff on October 3, had asked teachers not to wear “attire which may be objectionable to some members of the staff”.
The issue had become a hot potato by Sunday, with social networking sites abuzz with condemnation messages. This comes on the heels of the “dress code” issued by Delhi University for students taking the Gyanodaya railway trip.
“It has been misinterpreted. Complaints of gambling, alcohol and an indecent manner of dress by members of the staff have been made to the Vice-Chancellor and the Governing Body chairman by the teachers themselves,” said Dr. Kumar.
He said the notice was circulated mainly to forbid staff members who have residences on the college campus from drinking or smoking in public view and from adding any unauthorised boundary walls or columns.
“Instead of all this, people have started saying that there is some dress code at Hindu College. All that was intended was to request teachers not to wear anything objectionable or indecent. Hindu College is a liberal institution with a liberal mindset. But, as far as the remaining issues are concerned, an educational institute will definitely not allow people to drink and gamble,” he added.
However, teachers said the long-term implications and the timing of the code can be used to target individuals on the basis of complaints received.
“In Ambedkar College and ARSD College, the principals are facing serious charges of sexual harassment and there is nothing being done, but here teachers are being told to dress a certain way. Students are being issued a set of instructions to dress a certain way before leaving for the Gyanodaya railway trip but all colleges do not have a monitoring committee to listen to complaints of sexual harassment. This can be likened to a situation where women are demanding better security but the authority is asking them to dress properly,” said DUTA executive member Vijya Venkateshan.
Some teachers were of the opinion that the university was becoming increasingly regressive. “Imposing any kind of dress code for students or teachers is totally unacceptable. Such notices need to be seen in connection with the increased assault on democratic rights of students and teachers in recent times,” said Abha Dev Habib, a prominent teacher-activist in the university