Thiruvananthapuram

Security steps mooted for University College

Academic circles sceptical about police move

The State police have suggested a slew of security measures to help college authorities better regulate the University College campus.

The proposals include cameras to monitor open spaces, limiting the number of access points, and floodlights to illuminate the campus at night. The police have asked the college to ensure that outsiders are strictly screened out and only students and staff who produce identity cards are allowed entry to the campus.

The college authorities should ensure that students, except those involved in sporting activities, exit the campus in a reasonable time after class hours. They should not allow anybody to bivouac on the campus at night.

The recommendations reflected a heightened focus on college security in the wake of the near-fatal knife attack on a student on the campus on July 12. The assault had unnerved the academic community and roiled campus politics in the State.

Police picket

The police have set up a round-the-clock picket on the campus to prevent reprisals and ease the anxiety of parents.

A striking force of 20 armed officers are deployed outside the gates.

They have recommended more security officers for the college, which has only one night-watchman on its muster roll. Law enforcers have also proposed a police aid post near the college.

The recommendations have generated an amount of scepticism in academic circles. A former University College teacher said that students might resist overt security on the campus.

New academic culture

The proposed installation of surveillance cameras could prove to be counterproductive and provoke vandalism. The urgent need was to create an academic culture that frowns on bullying and upholds gender equality.

Calibrating a security strategy for the college based solely on an extraordinary event such as the stabbing of Akhil Chandran and the subsequent anti-Student Federation of India (SFI) protests might not be fruitful.

Ideally, any policy to regulate campus life should be anchored to a plan acceptable to students, parents, teachers and law enforcers, he said.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 8:32:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/security-steps-mooted-for-university-college/article28692681.ece

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