Can you see what made the request seem so ridiculous to those who had the authority to deny it?

Do you see something wrong with a 4th year B.Tech, Electrical Engineering student wanting to be able to stay out long hours and exit the campus freely to continue working with a nonprofit startup the student has helped to found?

According to this link, the request was “not only turned down”, but the student was “also admonished and ridiculed for the same.”

Can you see what made the request seem so ridiculous to those who had the authority to deny it?

Because the student was a female student. (It seems the male students face no such restrictions or ridicule for wanting similar opportunities)

She described her encounter with the Pro-Vice Chancellor in a post on her Facebook profile. Another female student (who wishes to remain anonymous) supported her, and wrote some Facebook posts of her own. The posts attracted the attention of the VIT Student Council President, and they were advised to hold an opinion survey, to determine whether other female VIT students also have similar objections to gender inequality on campus.

At anonymized results are published here.

The two female students were each asked to remove their Facebook posts relating to Gender Discrimination at VIT, at the threat of losing their degrees.  Following a combination of threats from VIT administrators and urging from their parents, the two women deleted their Facebook posts advertising the survey.

The survey itself and the daily-updated results are controlled by E4D Director Ted Moallem, who has declined to remove the survey/results, at least until VIT acknowledges the gender discrimination issue and takes concrete measures to address it. [FROM – http://edu4development.org/vit-survey-and-fallout/]

Is empowerment possible without a Voice and without Freedom? And how does one fight discrimination without freedom? 

The Hindu covered the news:

Two VIT students sent home for dissent

In a bid to silence criticism of its rules, the VIT University, Vellore, has sent home two women students after they posted Facebook comments questioning rules imposed on girl students alone.

Students said the online survey was an eye-opener with many respondents stating that the discrimination was unfair and the curfew deprived them of many opportunities.  “You can either go for a GRE/ MBA class or volunteer with an NGO, not both, because you can go out only once a week,” …..

And here is why, I think, the  discrimination is so easy to implement,

Meanwhile, father of one of the students said the university was not at fault, and that they had brought back their daughter, as “she had a misconceived idea that the university was discriminating against women.” [Two VIT students sent home for dissent]

Do sign this petition ‘for equal rights for male and female students in the university campus‘ – 
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“Why didn’t these women find life partners by dating?”

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An email: He did not want me to be “more” educated than he was.

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76 thoughts on “Can you see what made the request seem so ridiculous to those who had the authority to deny it?

  1. Such incidents are so common, this doesn’t even sound like news. Glad there are people raising their voice against it. I only hope and pray they don’t bear the brunt of this in terms of their degree. And yes also signed the petition.

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  2. Is this not the story in almost all the campuses? This was one of the things that made me always see red.
    I studied in College of engineering TVM and NIT Trichy. Guys in hostels had no rules and if at all there were there , they were not even pretended to be implemented. Girls had to be inside by specific time and in NIT Trichy we had to stand in line outside the warden’s room at 9 and give attendance too!

    I have seen M Tech students really suffer for their thesis work. When Guys could use the computer center all night , girls were expected to finish their work by 9. And when asked for permission for extended time, girls were advised to finish the work in the computer centers within the timeframe and thus be good students. Ofcourse, guys could use the computer center anytime and this was the case when the computer center was inside the campus. Forget going outside.

    Definitely signing the petition.

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  3. Ouch!
    Hurts to read this.

    The basic questions in the survey and the very clear responses clearly show how much the girls are impacted.

    That the University powers that be, and even the girl’s parents, dont see such restrictions as unfair and ‘discriminatory’ just shows the extent ‘discrimination’ is rooted into our culture.

    Signed the petition. Hope everyone does. Though the link is difficult to spot, just about the “related posts”, IMH, could you make it more prominent?

    Whether we know these girls or not, whether we know VIT or not, if signing the petition helps them in any way, I’m all for it!

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  4. That is ridiculous. It should be against the law to police legal adults in that way. Also, are students free to live off-campus? One way to avoid this kind of archaic, gender based policing is to move out. The university might decide to change it’s rules once it realizes that they’re losing money on housing.

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    • Kay, if only things were that simple.
      Most parents fight tooth and nail for hostel accommodation for their girls. Not only because its much cheaper, but also becs its ‘safe’.
      Not all can afford a place outside. Even if they can its really difficult for girls to get decent places, especially in small towns like Vellore.
      Advance is mostly 10 months rent- have to buy basic stuffs from cot to table- compromising on nutrition bcz they shd rely on takeaways most of the time- appointing a cook as students dont get time to cook means more expenses- also small towns give no scope for part-time jobs.
      I did Journalism Dip (a 1-yr course) from MCC, Chennai. We had a 6PM curfew. Warden used to threaten girls that she will not give them hostel next year if they break rules. Everyone wanted hostel bcz itz too convenient (single rooms, within campus, cheap & superbe food)
      I could do what I liked & I never followed stupid rules etc because I needed hostel only for 1 yr. Only serious issues like stealing, % below 60 etc warranted expulsion. So she couldnt expel me though I think somewhr down the line she was kinda fond of me too…

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      • @Nidaa–that sounds awful!

        I’m so completely clueless about what goes on in universities in India as neither my husband nor his brother (or most of his friends) went to one.

        My dad says the engineering uni he went to in the late 70s had less archaic rules than that! (he went to an rit in north india, I don’t know which one).

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        • I moved into hostel in 1993 (North India) the women’s undergrad hostel then closed at 10pm and all other hostels too. And with every passing year and new wardens the hostel closing times shrank. Earlier warden or assistant warden came to your room for head count (only women’s hostels) In 1997 there was a gang rape in men’s hostel and that nailed it for all. The undergrad hostel that was not on the main campus started closing at 8pm. MA hostel at 8pm, M.Phil. at 8:30 and Ph.D. at 9pm during summer hours and thirty minutes earlier in winters and the women’s hostel wardens made rule female students have to fall in the dinning hall for roll call.

          When DG spoke to the female vice chancellor how these rules are discriminating against women’s civic rights as citizens her response was, either you can get an education here or enjoy your civic rights.

          PGI is a premium medical institute and teaching college, a close relative finished her 2 yr degree there after marriage. The College principal was so mean that she closed the hostel doors at 6pm. The nurses who were married and had children went home on weekends and sometimes they would be late due to traffic or interstate bus schedule this woman would lock them out and force them to get a room in the hotel. According to her, “you should have completed your education before you got married or had kids.” That means as a married woman or a mother your career is stalled there is no option of career advancement for you.

          Then in the same town I was visiting a female lecturer who stayed in the women’s hostel of Government Women’s college, the college warden and principal wanted her out because she was teaching in Government College for men so they wrote to management that she drinks and made ruckus on X dates (those were the dates when she took me to hospital for emergency). This is the standard of academic institution where women have become the gate keepers of both knowledge and morality of other women.

          Kay,
          Moving out where? Trading hostel rules for loco in parentis of utter strangers who will shred your privacy like mince meat? First, no one wants to rent a room to single woman and if they do they think it is their right to discipline her and keep her chaste to preserve the great Indian culture.

          Peace,
          Desi Girl

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      • This.

        I went to VIT, and was a “day scholar” (I was a local). In spite of the girl’s hostel warden being a total dragon (and a ex (debarred?) lawyer to boot), the hostels were brimming over, and first years stayed 3/4 to a room. I doubt if a few girls moving out will make any impact, the rest of the girls will probably be glad.

        There were many boys who lived on their own outside the hostels, but NO girls. I’m pretty sure that had I gone to a college that was outside Vellore, there was no way in hell my parents would have permitted me to live on my own, or even with a bunch of other girls, outside the hostel. And small towns (Vellore’s a city on paper, but a small town at heart) are not easy on women – there are no PG accos to be had in every street. Unless a parent moves down and “keeps house” for a bunch of girls, it is not happening.

        Many parents sleep easy counting on the many,many restrictions imposed by the hostels. They probably imagine that their darling children will be screwing like bunnies otherwise. heh. This is why such draconian rules are imposed in the girl’s hostels. They now have custody of the “honor” of the girls, i.i., their virginity. VIT is one of the least draconian (not saying there is no gender bias, there’s plenty) institutions in TN: There are others who go so far as to “ban” any sort of contact (talk, even) between genders. Girls may not even ask boys a question. Supposedly, there are “spies” in the malls even, keeping a falcon eye on the doings of these college goers even when they are outside the college. There are iron grills running down the buses of these stalwart institutions, like they transport prisoners.

        The answer isn’t to move out of the hostels when there is gender bias. I can’t say how happy it makes me to see girls fighting for egalitarian treatment within the system. I just hope that the authorities sit up and take note. And that there is more of a furore over this, so the college backs off on the restrictions. As an alumni, I’ll write to the authorities soon – The chancellor is a great guy, and is quite responsive (at least on other issues, have never talked to him about gender bias before)

        PS: The parents are deluded. Hostel restrictions in no way limits the hanky panky. The students are a lot smarter than the powers that be, and they do exactly what they want to.

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    • Moving out isn’t an option, since universities in India wouldn’t lose out at all. For every student to opts to move out, there would be at least 12 vying to fill up that place, for the reasons mentioned by Nidaa above.

      Besides, most government universities don’t really make any money from hostels. They’d rather be happy if they no longer had to provide hostel accommodation to students, as it would take the burden of subsidy off their shoulders.

      One of the options , could be legal recourse. Since most students in college are legally majors and responsible for their own actions, it is ultra vires for hostels to try to police them on their lifestyle. But of course, it might be clamped down by a court on the grounds that as an association of sorts, with a privileged membership, hostels have the right to enforce ‘house rules’ on their members’ discipline, no matter how unfair they may be.

      I suppose protests are the only workable option, in the Indian context.

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      • This. Hostels couldn’t care less if students move out. On the other hand, landlords can be terribly fussy when renting out to students, men or women. I never got into the college hotel and always stayed outside with with flatmates. It worked fine for us as there were landlords willing to rent to us, so all was fine. The hostel always sounded like a nightmare. Not least of all, it consisted of small-ish rooms shared by 3 people!

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    • @Kay
      Yes it is ridiculous.
      The best thing I can say about my college is that while there were rules aplenty for girls (and none for guys), they were hardly ever followed.
      In my last year there was a sudden ‘movement’ to implement the long-disregarded curfew. This, in accomodation which housed female medical students, interns and those in graduate medical education- all of whom worked in erratic shifts which had unpredictable end-times.

      Most women moved out in DROVES. It wasn’t even a ‘statement’ or protest- it literally was much better for their peace of mind and their training opportunities.
      The irony was that it was a city where rental supply always outstripped demand the major effect of this new hostel policy was that landlords in the area were suddenly much better off🙂 As were the students🙂

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    • My sister did exactly that for the exactly same reason. They wouldn’t have even let her in without a lot of drama if she was late from visiting our parents! But for most other female students, there is no choice. It is probably already a huge thing for their parents to send them away to study, and they expect the university to ‘take care’ of their adult offspring. So they really are part of the discrimination.

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      • The parents probably feel they have some authority over all this as they are footing the bill. College kids in India need to move towards paying for their own tuition/accommodation – that’ll go a long way in making them independent of their parents.

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    • This is pretty sick for sure. But from a legal point of view there’s nothing wrong. These adults are free to quit the college at any time and go live their own lives. They choose to remain and be subservient to their parents and the college authorities. As long as the parents who are paying the bills want the college to behave in a certain way, things will not change. The students are not the customers. The parents are.

      Sucks doesn’t it?

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    • Staying off campus doesn’t help much because most of the hostels that accommodate girls insist upon girls to be in their rooms before 6.30 pm( or maximum 7.00 pm). They are so hesitant to give admission to a new girl who are not accompanied by her parents or at least a local guardian at the time of joining. This is the scenario at Trivandrum..rebelling is not an option because the standard reply is..”this is the rule here. if you have any problem you may search another hostel.” (*not to mention the questioning looks we get for going out with friends to beach or for a movie😦 )

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  5. The universities are after all catering to the customers. It may seem like the students are the customers, but in India most of undergrad education is sponsored by parents. So as long as parents refuse to treat their adult sons and daughters as..well..adults, the universities will have no incentive to change. I know that a lot of parents want their kids policed in universities because somehow they believe that there are only 2 things you can be doing – staying out or studying. They never seem to understand that you can still be on campus and get into a lot of “mischief”

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    • Actually, in government colleges and schools, it isn’t even the parents, it’s the government that’s footing most of the fees. It’s really hard to get into a really good college and/or a hostel because of the stiff competition (which is why so many rich kids move abroad for studies – they wouldn’t get into the most desirable places). And so basically, the attitude in these places is – “my college, my rules, you don’t like it? Get out!” And the parents often side with the administration because God forbid their child loses a place in a “good college”. Ah! Hostel days! Now that truly was trench warfare, with sadistic wardens and weird, sexist rules.

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  6. I did my engineering in a horrible college in India as well. The girls’ hostel was inside college campus and we were not allowed outside at ALL, except to go home during the weekends, that too, after getting permission from the college. These permission slips had to be signed by the secretary of the chairman, so you would see a crowd of girls from the hostel at the chairman’s door at the beginning of every weekend.
    Even though we were inside campus, we had to get back to the hostel before 6pm.
    They also had restrictions on the outfits we wore INSIDE the hostel. Shorts were not allowed. It used to go up to 40 degC in the summer, and if there was a power cut, we just had to suffer through the heat. In college, we had to wear only salwar khameez. Jeans was not allowed, even if it was paired with a kurta.
    I don’t know how I survived that place. If it wasn’t for my friends, I’d have gone mental!

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    • That’s imprisonment. That’s ridiculous. How can they tell the students that pay tuition that they are not allowed to leave the hostel to visit their (presumably) LEGAL caregivers? In many instances, it’s those very same caregivers that pay the tuition for these nut cases!

      I can, in a depressing way, understand why they would be stringent about girls going to other places without permission or prior notice. But to go home? That’s insane. They need to rename “common sense”, because it’s really not that common it seems.

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        • There was no logic or common sense in that place. It was mental hell for me and people who thought like me. And we stood out, cos the majority just went with the flow, cos according to them, it was all “normal”.

          *shudder*

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  7. It is not just about the female students alone. It is in general about the disproportionate control that university and parents have on the students, irrespective of gender. These are adult students who have the right to vote but cannot chose what they have to do with their time and lives. This organised harassment of the students is a joke and has to stop. Let the universities do their job of teaching and let students do what they deem is right for them. Let us not stifle the freedom in the name of protection and imposition of absurd morals.

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  8. What made this request seem so ridiculous is the idea that women have a right to not be policed and constantly told what to do. That we have a right to exist in the public sphere, at all hours of dawn and dusk, just like men. The thing that made this request seem so ridiculous is the idea that women are human beings, who want to be viewed as such, with equal rights to make the decisions that they see fit. It’s that simple, and that sad.

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  9. Not very surprisingly, this happens in every other University in India. I am currently studying in one of the top LAW schools in the country, and female students are in no better condition here. We have an entry time of 9, male students don’t have any such entry time. We are supposed to take permission before going to our home or any other place, male students have no such requirements. The people who have the authority to make decisions are live examples of power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. When power and ego are active, logic and ethics always take a back seat. And the administration does not even want to listen forget thinking over the whole gender discrimination thing.

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  10. girls have all the objections when they have to follow rules specific to them . but on the other hand they want all the relaxations and reservations because they are women. they should choose one side.

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    • Men also seem to have problems following rules like not raping women, not molesting them, not harassing them etc. But since men are allowed to easily get away with not following these rules, women end up needing, for example, reserved coaches in trains. If men stopped molesting women with impunity or were made to follow rules, there would be no need for such reservation.

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      • The majority of men have no will or desire to rape women, or molest them, or harass them; even when there are no rules in place to socially engineer their behaviour. The few who do are criminals, a sociopath group of people that makes up a danger not only to women who are harassed, but humanity as a whole.

        You’d be surprised just how often young men in Delhi and its periphery become victims to the violent crimes of sociopaths or drunken louts (of BOTH genders). Only that a MALE student getting beaten to death by a bunch of muggers isn’t scandalous and salacious enough to warrant a prime piece in Times Of India. Or for that matter, the crimes against ethnic, religious or racial minorities in India is lower in the hierarchy of Oppression Olympics or the Outrage Quotient.

        I think rather than trying to class crimes such as rapes, harassment and molestation as men-vs-women issues, we should address them for what they are – specific intent crimes like murder, robberies, battery, etc. It is only when the society addresses it as such and acts accordingly, by doing its best to make public places safe for everyone and by curbing the general lawlessness that is prevalent in mainland India, that there would be fewer rapes and crimes against women.

        Unfortunately, telling men in your circle not to rape women or not to molest women is probably not going to be of much use, since *most* of these men aren’t going to do it anyway, whether you tell them or not. And the ones who would, wouldn’t care two hoots about what you or the society tells them not to do, just like how robbers rob people with the awareness that robbing is both a penal and social offense.

        I find it rather intriguing how comments like this get a free pass on a site that proclaims to be against sexism, but somehow, comment like this one would end up in the permanent moderation queue.

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        • Obviously the majority of men don’t, I replied in the same tone as the original point because it is just as silly to say ‘girls have all objections’ . You seem to have missed the context of my response, please read the original comment.

          My comment was in reply to a comment about why women complain about gendered rules but not about reservations. While you may not like it, the truth is that special women’s coaches or women’s seats are needed mostly because of the level and regularity of harassment in shared spaces. Just a few such men are enough for mass harassment in trains/ buses/ shared spaces because they know that they will go unpunished, unchecked.

          Also, the majority of men (and women) ARE party in condoning this status quo, if not participating in it themselves. What else are these gendered rules about? No one bothers to correct the abusers’ behaviour, but rather people will tell women to go to ‘their’ coach or stay inside after 6 or whatever else. So, there is a reason that these ‘women only’ reservations exist. They are band-aid solutions because our society doesn’t want to punish harassment of women, they believe ‘men will be men’ or rather ‘men should be allowed to be men’.

          “Or for that matter, the crimes against ethnic, religious or racial minorities in India is lower in the hierarchy of Oppression Olympics or the Outrage Quotient.”
          What does this have to do with the point of ‘women’s reservation’ that I was applying to? I also didn’t mention religious oppression of science, Russia’s stance on gay people, Modi’s/ Rahul’s election campaign etc etc etc because that also had nothing to do with ‘women’s reservation’. What’s your point?

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        • “I think rather than trying to class crimes such as rapes, harassment and molestation as men-vs-women issues, we should address them for what they are – specific intent crimes like murder, robberies, battery, etc.”

          Unfortunately in India(and several other places) they ARE men vs women issues.
          Yes, men are victims of sexual assault as well. But do you hear anyone telling a teenage boy or man that he “asked for it”?
          Do people ask men not to wear “provocative” clothing? To not go out at night?

          Physically , verbally and sexually assaulting a woman is considered common place, almost socially acceptable. That’s why no one thinks twice about doing it.

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    • All those relaxations and reservations that you speak of that you think are SO advantageous to us exist out of two needs:

      1) The belief that women are “weaker” and need to be protected.

      2) The rightful acknowledgement that women have been dealt a poor hand throughout history, and rectifications need to be made in order to correct that improper balance that exists in society.

      There is a mighty big difference between women railing against having their autonomy erased under the guise of “protection” (#1), and women demanding special steps be taken to afford them that very same autonomy to start with (#2). The second one is not “relaxations and reservations” in most cases. The fact that people think that my desire to have my humanity as a woman acknowledged is some sort of special, unfair right that I get speaks volumes about the type of society we live in.

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    • Please go and tell men to treat women as they,men,would like to be treated,i.e., with respect, and then we can erase all the ‘relaxations and reservations’ put in place for women.Thanks.

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  11. So we have no freedom of speech, no freedom of movement, no freedom at all. Women in our country live in imprisonment and slavery or sorts. It should be (and probably is) illegal for the University to threaten the girls like this just because they challenged the rules. That’s criminal oppression. It’s incredibly depressing that their parents support this oppression, but then that’s what our good old indian culture is about.

    The sad thing is that we even need a survey to ask people whether they mind gender biased rules. I mean, gender biased rules are discriminatory and thus wrong by definition. How can you go around educating people when you can’t understand this simple thing? What kind of education are they imparting?

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    • It’s not that parents support this oppression. I know quite a few parents who are vehemently against such blatant discrimination. But even the parents who go against societal grain in such a manner teach one, endemic, soul-crushing lesson: complacency. They teach complacency, and apathy, because the alternative means getting into a whole world of trouble.

      We’ve seen what happens to people in India when they try to stand up against institutions that have disproportionate amounts of power. They’re either bought off or scared into silence. For parents, and students, to whom education means everything from financial security and freedom, it’s not surprising at all that even the ones who want to protest loudly are forced to keep quiet out of self-preservation. A very common refrain is, “Just keep your head down and bear with it, just for now, and you will soon be out of there.” For a lot of parents education is paramount. You don’t mess that up, no matter how oppressive the environment is. You do whatever you can to get through it. It’s a stupid attitude to have, but many people don’t have a choice. And the ones who do have the choice often find that the status quo works perfectly well for them (ie. men, who can probably speak up without having their education threatened too much), so they don’t.

      Of course, the consequences of that is that you’re dealing with undergraduate students here. Not adults who have seen something of the world and managed to form their own mindsets. The age group of people you’re dealing with are still vastly impressionable and young. This is probably their first time setting foot in the outside world in any given capacity. No wonder patriarchy is so reinforced in India–it starts from childhood, and gets taught time and time again in schools, even when you’re supposed to be free from it to form your own opinions.

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      • Very true. In my experience, parents either

        1) want to support their kids but the social repercussions are too harsh, just as you described

        2) or they actually do support the gendered rules at these universities because this will protect their children from ‘getting out of line’

        I think, from only my personal anecdotal experience, that the existence of a large proportion of the second type of parents serves to keep the first in check. Because the universities know that a significant proportion of parents will support them, they can ignore or suppress the ones that don’t. When there is any chance of outrage amongst the majority of parents, which would affect business, the situation would improve.

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        • “I think, from only my personal anecdotal experience, that the existence of a large proportion of the second type of parents serves to keep the first in check.”

          This is true too, and even in many “liberal” parents, they often tend to be a mixture of both. They dismiss draconian restrictions like this without taking into account exactly how damaging they are, or they think that they are not that bad because even with being liberal, there’s nothing wrong with being policed like this because it’s “just protection”, not a defining problem in society.

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      • I’m pretty sure it’s all because of the parent’s demands. After all, maintaining rules and enforcing them and putting in place procedures is a headache. Any sane management would want to leave things as lax as possible and free up their time. After all, it surely costs money to have these rules and systems!

        But it’s the parents who want it and demand such strictures. Plus if a girl gets pregnant or someone rapes her, the college authorities might be afraid of getting their name in the papers leading to people viewing it as an unsafe place. “Better safe than sorry” seems to be the motto.

        A lot also depends perhaps on the location of the college itself. I was in Stephen’s in Delhi and girls and boys had the same curfew time of 10 PM (Even though boys could sneak out under the wires etc and were not confined to a hostel after 10 PM). I don’t recall anything bad happening. Maybe in other places of India it’s more dangerous? I don’t really know…

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    • The amount of power that college authorities have over students is ridiculous, even ignoring the gender-bias aspect. Another incident: someone who wore a T-shirt to college was held back until night and let to go. This person was a foreign-passport holding person (OCI??) and didn’t know his way around India. He walked 3 km to the nearest police station, rang up his in the foreign country, who informed the embassy, and there was high-level police action raised against the college. At least in the VIT case, one can argue that the dean thought women need to be secured. What argument can you apply in this case?

      This news had huge media fanfare, and went away in like a week.

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  12. The blood boils at this blatant descrimination and denying the opportunities to students solely based on their gender. Absolutely pathetic to hear it in this age. What makes me even more mad is this attitude of authorities of silencing the dissent. Not changing the rules for the better is one thing, but not being willing to at least tolerate the criticism is a whole other level of crazy. These people in authority really should let go of this thinking that they are some kind of gods who can not be wrong or not criticized while the students should keep dissenting for any progress to be made.

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  13. Hey IHM, thank you so much for taking up my story. I am the girl described in the above blog. I was forced to take down all my posts as my degree is at stake but someone cared to pick it up from there. My efforts would not go waste. The students of my college are dead scared now because of the consequences i faced for standing up. The university tried to make an example of me and they are successful.
    College days are most important. It is not about specific intime rules. It is about the ability of the students to be able to stand up fearlessly when their fundamental rights are outrightly being exploited. I continue to stay at home still without an official notice. The petition might open many eyes in the administration. In India there is huge potential in terms of intellectual power. Only very few have the sense independence, confidence and ability to not allow people to exploit them.
    College is a place where you subconsciously inherit most values from peers and surroundings which later affect how you lead the rest of your lives. At such a time,none of the genders must accept the fact that women are inferior. True, they are physically less stronger. The solution is to arrange self defense training not jail them. The only way to truly protect women is to teach them to protect themselves.
    This is not just about VIT. We need to expand this to all the places where helpless students stay silent while more than one of their fundamental rights are being exploited.
    Thanks again for writing about this story. I hope it has its impact.

    Like

    • Hi Spandana,
      We should thank you .
      Thank you for standing up for rights of Girls
      Thank you for putting you degree at stake for something you believed in .
      Thank you for doing something that many never thought of doing while in college . They took things as a part of life and moved on .
      Thank you shaking us out of our sleep and showing us how gender discrimination is at every level .
      Thank you for talking on behalf of some many of your female colleagues .

      You are the real hero .

      I have written letter to your college and am getting in touch with my graduation college (where such discriminatory rules didn’t exist ) to write to VIT .
      Small Contribution for the great work you are doing.

      Like

    • Well done for standing up for yourselves. Even if the University hold your degree ransom or delays it, you will do great in life. The degree, the marks and all that don’t matter for very long once you leave university. They can create a small setback for you but the strength and confidence you show will more than compensate for it.🙂

      The thing is, many men are physically weaker than other men or women too. Yet they are not automatically assaulted, jailed and discriminated against. It doesn’t matter what one’s physical strength is or even whether we know self defence. There are laws in our country which criminalise any type of assault. There is also a constitution which ensures equal rights to men and women. So the legal framework needs to be implemented, without the extra dose of ‘she was asking for it’ ‘she should’ve stayed at home’ etc. Such attitudes make the problem much worse, creating a vicious cycle.

      Anyway, you have all my admiration and support for taking action. Good luck with everything going forward.

      Like

    • You are an amazing woman. Why not try consulting a good lawyer about your case, if you can afford it? Remember that even if you lose a year, if you won the case, other universities might take you in just to give themselves a PR boost. Another thing you can do is go to the media if you have any contacts. The VIT authorities are only clamping down on this because they don’t want it publicised.

      Like

    • I’m a VIT alum, and I wrote to the VP about this issue. I also signed the petition. I hope they engage with the student body with the very valid concerns you and the Student council have raised with your poll.

      Kudos to you for speaking up about the issues you face.You’re truly a hero. Stay strong.🙂

      Like

    • I am so, so sorry that your degree is being put in jeopardy just because you chose to stand up. But at the same time, thank you so much for having the courage and decency to do something like this. There is never a right time in your life to take a stand for what is just, and I’m glad that you chose to do it now.

      Like

  14. Hey IHM, I am the girl described in this blog. First of all, I am very glad to see that someone has picked up the story where I was forced to leave as my degree is at stake. Myself and the other girl continue to stay at home as of today. These students of my college are dead scared. And why wouldn’t they be? The university has admitted that they want to make an example of us.
    I really wish to bring in to light the fear that holds back these students in general while somebody is outrightly exploiting their fundamental rights. It is scary as these students are going to be the next generation leading India. It is not about just in time rules and its not just about VIT.Never one should back down as long as they are asking for something right.
    College days are most important as it is the time you inherit value sobconscioualy that continue to later affect your lives in future. At such a time, either gender must not accept that women are in any way inferior. True, they are physically a little less strong. To overcome that,they must be given self defense training. The only true way to protect women is to teach them to protect themselves. Jailing is no solution.
    I thank you again for bringing this issue to the light. I hope it has some impact.

    Like

  15. I went to IIM A a long time ago and even there the rules were super Lax, no discrimination ( then) I’m not sure of they have regressed now. and girls and boys were equal.. so if we all survived then fine, what is the need to make it so regressice nowadays?

    Unfortunately we run after engg and medical degrees like a bunch of crazy people and there are more than enough students to fill the schools coffers, so unless there’s a mass boycott of an entire batch i doubt things will change. and I’m all for a mass boycott🙂 why not after all you loose just 1 sem. but i also understand that many careers and families future are hinging on this engg degree, future job and thenthe ability to eat…
    so nothing will happen.

    Like

  16. We used to have this curfew when I stayed in the on-campus ladies hostel at one of the “best” engineering universities in Tamilnadu. We had to be back in the hostel by 8.45pm and also answer roll-call.

    Of course, the guys had no such restrictions. Thus, they got to access the computer center all night if need be and also got to run out for emergency purchases which were needed for completing projects. Not to mention, go for coaching classes or whatever else they wanted to do because they got the time to do so after a full day of classes.

    The women penned inside the hostel for our own safety. The unfairness of it all is just mind-boggling.

    When I came to the US for my grad studies, I was SO happy to be have my freedom. Even though nights-out in the lab to complete projects meant almost no sleep, I still marveled at the wonder of having the choice to do so. I should thank India for that I guess – I do not take this freedom for granted.

    Like

  17. This is so beyond ridiculous! Signed the petition, and was thinking about my own university right now. We have classes till 9, regularly, and so many people living on campus walking out and about at all times of night. I can’t even imagine them being policed like this.

    The university I got my undergrad at, we regularly spent the night on campus, not in residence, but just buildings on campus, while studying for exams or doing assignments, and this was normal for both men and women. There was never any policing of this, apart from buildings that would lock down at a certain point in time.

    The university I am currently at has an over-night hotel students can make use of during exam times, for instance, when they stay on campus, studying late.

    What bothered me most was the policing of these women’s Facebook posts, where they were raising valid concerns in a forum that the university had no business regulating. And the father’s chastisement of his daughter was just deplorable. Here is your child, courageously raising her voice to speak out against injustice that not only affects her education but also affects her life as a woman, and all he do is take her home and try to silence her?

    Why so many people think they can regulate the completely legal thoughts and actions of legal adults is beyond my understanding.

    Like

  18. People are hiding one half of the news – the reason for this rule to come in VIT. They only rant and rave about the restrictions. They forget the mistakes done by the students.

    Like

    • Are these “mistakes” that you talk about illegal?Or are they specifically committed by women and not men? If these mistakes were indeed illegal, the correct course of action would be to inform the law enforcement officials and not jailing the students in. Please remember that the students in question are legal majors.

      Like

    • what mistakes do students do?
      Going out when they please, with whom they please? ( like boys)
      Not getting hostel authorities permission to go home ( like boys)
      dating boys
      etc., etc., ????

      so what, arnt most of them over 18yrs old? ADULTS???? even if they were under 18 unless they broke the law, why is the college policing them…

      I fail to see any other side in this story , maybe there is one but i cant see it.

      Like

        • Yeah – am sure these babies (sorry, women) have now become paragons of virtue (a.k.a the ideal bharatiya nari) thanks to all these restrictions.

          I mean, seriously – women having freedom? Whatever will you ask for next? That adult women be treated like sentient human beings and not like mentally-deficient three-year-olds? So preposterous!

          /sarcasm

          Like

  19. IHM would be best described as a hypocrite, because she has not published my previous comment, but published the later ones. I have clearly stated, promiscuous behaviour of students WITHIN campus prompted this action in 2006 – 2008 times.

    Like

    • And exactly, how is that the college authority’s business? These girls are above 18 and as such legally responsible adults, who have the right to do what they please with their bodies. Premarital sex is not illegal in India. So you cannot imprison these women. Case closed.

      Also, please explain to me how only women can indulge in promiscuous behaviour without men to indulge in it with? In which case, shouldn’t BOTH the boys and girls be jailed within the college premises with similar restrictions? Or are you saying that it’s okay for boys to be promiscuous but not for girls?

      Like

  20. This is not in colleges only, I used to work in bangalore ( long time ago) and decided to stay in a working womens hostel. I got into sharadhha / some something…Most everyone was working. and i was a trainee and had to work late, for some training, so one day i made my way back at 9.10 and relized they had locked the gates,, WTH…
    so i told the warden that i would be coming late for the next 10 days .. god you should have heard her rant. anyway i ignored it and continued since i had paid dor 2 months, a few weeks later my dad came visiting , we went out to dinner and came back by 9pm, this lady was standing near the gate and watching, and she suddenly pointed and yelled at me saying she knew i was lying about training and going around with someone !!!!! huh WTH, dad was livid and i was more so, i calmed dad down and asked him to leave and went inside and next day during eve prayers and announcements – oh yeah they had those, i made a unusual visit to the prayer hall and when she finished announcements on some morality issue and not going with men went up picked up the mike an dgave her a piece of my mind… ohhh it was so much fun, the trustees were there and so were many women, granted i had a script in my head all rehearsed but boy i enjoyed it so much.
    started off with the constitution , suspicion, courtesey, adults and ended with law and legalese and what not , picked up my bags and told her to jump off the nearest bridge. and walked out. — hah i still relish that moment.
    i went and found myself a paying guest accomodation with a lovely old couple who didnt care when i came and went , gave me my keys and treated me like a adult .
    i spent many an enjoyable evenings with them. and still am in touch.
    lo behold i turned out fine.
    sadly we we take moral policing to a higher level with blurred definition of personal boundaries .

    Like

  21. I was pointed to this article when I was talking this incident over with a friend.

    http://www.thehindu.com/features/education/college-and-university/when-it-comes-to-college-rules-its-all-down-to-safety/article3340144.ece

    “Since every student signs an application during admission that prevents him from protesting or engaging in any action that ‘defames’ the institute, there is little the students can do about the rules. ”

    I don’t recall any such statement in the admission form back in the days, so maybe this is a new rule? I can’t believe there is a RULE against protesting. I can’t believe things have gotten this bad. Vellore isn’t in North Korea.

    Does this make it harder for any legal action to be taken, should the authorities not readmit the students in question? Is it even a legal rule?

    Like

    • LOL! I made exactly the same comparison about North Korea when talking about Chennai colleges. I should think that any such document would be as illegal as the ‘bonds’ that some companies make you sign when you join work. Frankly, it would not stand up in court because the colleges are basically intruding on basic human rights. Besides, it’s not ‘defamation’ if you are speaking the truth. It’s only defamation if you are lying about what’s happening. And that’s exactly why VIT is trying to hush up things.

      Like

  22. Pingback: “A Hindu woman derives immense pleasure in sacrifice for her husband. The white man will never ever understand this.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  23. Pingback: Punjabi University locks girls in hostels to prevent ‘nuisance’ on Holi | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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