Students of Hyderabad’s St Francis College for Women protest against ‘strict’ dress code

Students allege security guards measure the length of their kurtis before allowing them into the college.

September 16, 2019 03:20 pm | Updated September 17, 2019 07:42 am IST - HYDERABAD

Students of St. Francis College for Women staging protest against strict dress code imposed on students, in Hyderabad on Monday.

Students of St. Francis College for Women staging protest against strict dress code imposed on students, in Hyderabad on Monday.

The lane leading to St. Francis College for Women in Begumpet was filled with hundreds of students who protested against the dress code, which specifies the length of kurtis to be worn by them.

While the dress code was being implemented from past one month, the issue reached the tipping point when security guards checked length of students dress, and when students were not allowed to attend classes for wearing kurtis above knee.

When the students raised it with a faculty member, she in turn questioned them why do they want to wear sleeveless dress. “She referred to actors who are paid to wear 'such clothes',” a student alleged. They also alleged of subjecting them to humiliation while checking length of dress.

Messages urging people to participate in protest against the issue were circulated in social media platforms from Sunday evening. Hundreds of students boycotted classes and outside the college gate starting from 9.00 am on Monday.

They held placards which read, ‘We are skipping our lessons to teach you one’, ‘My body my choice’, ‘Our voices speak, not our clothes,’ among others. Police personnel including women constables rushed in to avoid any adverse situation.

An enraged student who did not want her name to be quoted said that the way the rule was imposed affected her mental health. “I have written in my book when my head of department cited actors being paid to wear sleeveless,” the student said.

“There are other issues in college which need to be resolved. Girl students contracted Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) from using unhygienic washrooms. Required parking space is not provided for students vehicles,” said another student pointing out that the college management could have addressed these issues instead of implementing dress code.

Hundreds of students who were protesting raised slogans against the dress code.

The students called off the protest in the afternoon after it was announced that the rule on the length of kurtis was repealed. “However, we have to follow the conditions mentioned in declaration form which we signed in August, before beginning of the academic year. We cannot wear sleeveless or cold shoulder tops, t-shirts, to the college,” said a student.

When a request was placed to meet either the Principal or Dean of the college, the reporter was informed by staff that either they were busy in meeting, or not available.

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