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Shouldn’t We Have A Say In What Goes On In Our Campus? Lucknow’s Law Students Ask Their VC

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The Vice Chancellor,
Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University,
Lucknow – 226012

Subject: Appeal to take action against arbitrary rules and their oppressive implementation by the administrative authorities.Dear Sir,

Dear Sir,

We are writing this letter to convey to you our grievances with the University, in the light of recent events.

ram manohar lohia national law universityOn 21st November 2015, two fifth-year students got late in reaching the hostel. The hostel timings were arbitrarily changed to 9:30 pm on the same day although the library timings remained the same, that is 10 pm. One of them had injured her arm and was crying due to pain while the other was trying to help her out. Both the girls reached the hostel at 10:15 pm.

The guards and matrons despite seeing that the girl was hurt and in a miserable condition, did not allow her inside the hostel and instead asked them to make entries in the late entry register. Her friend, requested the guards to allow the girl who was hurt inside the hostel while she made entries for the both of them, but the guards denied to let her do so.

Even after making multiple entries in the registers and also writing an application stating the reasons for being late, both girls were still not allowed inside, and the hostel gate was locked. When several girls, both from inside and outside the hostel asked the guards to open the gate as the girl was in immense pain and needed to be given first aid, they stated that the keys were with the Warden who was not available at the time.

Several requests were made to the guards and the matron to call the Warden and ask for the keys; however the guards refused to do the same. After locking the girls out for about 20-25 minutes, the guard finally took out the keys from her pocket and opened the door. When the girls questioned her as to why she did the same, the guard denied any responsibility and stated that the Wardens should be contacted for any issue as she was under an obligation to follow their orders. At least 5-6 girls are witness to this entire incident and the ruthless behaviour showcased by the guards towards such a grave medical emergency.

It was later found that the injured girl had suffered multiple fractures in her arm; her elbow bone had come out of the socket and had to immediately undergo surgery. Her parents were questioned by the doctors as to why she was not given immediate first aid.

It is very disturbing to know that the guards and matrons were so irresponsible and indifferent towards a student who was in so much pain. The staff that is employed for the well-being of the students, instead of helping out them out, decided to give more importance to the rules and regulations of hostel in-timings rather than giving primacy to a medical emergency.

This is not the sole incident when the University authorities have been disrespectful towards the students and their needs, especially in the time of an emergency. Due to rise in such instances in the University, we have finally decided to voice our opinions with respect to the same.

As discussed with you in the meeting on 26th November 2015, following is the detailed list of issues that we request you to look into:

(1) Discriminatory rules for boys and girls of the University

The University authorities have been implementing different rules for students based on their gender. This is sheer gender discrimination and inequality that is being practiced at our University under the garb of safety for female students. Girls have hostel-in timings of 6:30 am to 9:30 pm (which was earlier 5:30 am to 10:30 pm). The administration has been found justifying this discrimination by making vague and unreasonable statements like “bad things happen on campus after 9:30” and that “women are victims of nature and need to be put inside.”

Over the last three months, security cameras with night vision have been installed at every 20 meters; twice the number of guards have been found patrolling the campus and yet we’re imprisoned in our hostels under the garb of security when it’s apparent that this is nothing short of moral policing. It seems that the administration has been implying that our fellow male students of the university, who have been witnessed as maintaining the decorum by the day, turn into criminal offenders by the night.

In this regard, we request you to kindly amend these discriminatory rules; do away with the hostel timings for the girls and allow us to enjoy our freedom while ensuring the safety of all the students (girls and boys both) inside the campus.

Secondly, the back gate of the Girls’ Hostel, which is closer to the Cafeteria, had been closed by the authorities, for no apparent reason, thereby causing inconvenience to all the girls who have every right to use the back gate since it’s a part of the hostel premises. Therefore, we request that the back gate is opened for use by the girls, as soon as possible.

Thirdly, girls are made to make double entries at the main gate of the campus as well as at the hostel gate, while coming in or going out. They are even asked to submit applications while they’re leaving for home for every weekend. Whenever a girl is about to leave the hostel at any time of the day, she is questioned regarding her whereabouts. Late entry registers are also maintained by the matrons, in which girls are required to make entries every night, even if they are a minute late. The hostel is like our home, and due to such unreasonable practices we are made to feel like prison inmates. It has also been observed that this rule, although in existence for both the male and female boarders, is in execution only when it comes to the female boarders.

Therefore, we request you to do away with the concept of entry system at the hostel gate as such and implement a practical method of making an entry only in one register by all boarders at the main gate when they are venturing out of the premises of the University.

(2) Extension of library timings till 12

As of now, the library timings are 8:30 am to 10 pm, on all working days. Our classes get over at 5, so the effective time for us to use the library is limited from 3 hours (including 2 hours of extracurricular activities like sports, etc.) to 5 hours maximum. Since there is only one girls’ hostel on campus, they have double sharing rooms till the 4th year and most of them face roommate issues during exams due to differences in study/sleep patterns. Therefore, the use of the library becomes vital, especially during exams.

Apart from this, all the memo submissions for various Moot Court Competitions, paper submissions for Paper Publications, etc. are scheduled for submission at 12 am on any given day due to which most of the submissions happen at 12 am itself. Hence, we need that the library becomes accessible during this time for uninterrupted use and communication with the teammates, who are not necessarily of the same gender.

Therefore, for all these reasons combined, we request an extension in the library timings till 12 am on all working days. If the library staff feel that staying till 12 am is an issue, then we request that a security guard and a supervisor be appointed for the task, which would suffice since no books can be issued after 7 pm as it is.

(3) Availability of the Wardens to address the issues of the students and the behaviour of guards and matrons with the girls inside the hostel

Another major concern for all the female students is the deteriorating behaviour of the matrons and guards towards us. They never take up any responsibility for any concern of the students and always put the blame on the Wardens and higher authorities. They also misbehave with the students if we voice our opinion about anything and are insensitive towards medical emergencies and other such emergencies. In fact, they never answer any of our queries and never convey any of our problems to the higher authorities. They are not even ready to give away the contact numbers of the Warden and the Warden-in-chief, even in times of emergencies and just say that they do not have the authority to do so.

Written applications are also not forwarded to the Wardens on time; even if forwarded, not acted upon immediately. There is a huge communication gap between the students and the Wardens students are unable to put forward their grievances.

Not only that, they also pass inappropriate comments with regard to the ‘character’ of the girls, if seen with a boy on campus, or if coming late to the hostel etc. for any reason whatsoever. They enjoy locking out girls outside the hostel gate when they’re late and record our names in several registers. There have been innumerable incidents of girls missing their dinner because of such shenanigans of the hostel authorities. They have also been portraying a bad image of the girls to the parents, whenever they visit. This happened in the abovementioned case of the two girls when their parents came to meet the authorities in order to discuss the reasons for handing out expulsion letters to these girls.

Therefore, it is requested that the working phone numbers of both the wardens and other higher authorities be made available on the hostel notice boards for emergencies, and the matrons are held directly responsible for all such kinds of misbehaviour, if at all it occurs in the future.

The matrons should also be held directly responsible for not communicating all kinds of emergencies in the girls’ hostel to the Warden and Warden in Chief as soon as they are brought to their notice by the students, for the simple reason that they are employed to be agents of the higher authorities and therefore, should not be allowed to shrug away their liability by taking the defence that the students did not inform the Warden directly about any kind of mishap while they themselves were informed of the same by the respective students.

Apart from the phone numbers of the warden; we also seek to bring to your notice that the phone numbers of the teachers and other University administration, available at the main gate of the University are outdated. It is requested that prompt action be taken to update the current list and find out a mechanism to make such updates from time to time.

(4) Insensitivity towards medical emergencies

Firstly, girls are not allowed to go out or come inside the hostel even if sick during late hours. We are made to write unnecessary applications and make multiple entries. Secondly, rarely anyone is sent to accompany the sick person who can take charge of the medical formalities at the hospital; it is always the students who take the sick person to the doctor and take full responsibility. Thirdly, we face great difficulty in availing the services of the Ambulance, several applications and permissions are always asked for. Fourthly, no medicines are ever made available inside the hostel for the students; guards, matrons are unavailable to give the medicines during the night several times; the only available medicines are also mostly expired medicines.

Therefore, it is requested that the procedure to leave the hostel and avail the ambulance facilities, especially during late hours, be made simpler. A simple phone call by one of the guards/matrons on duty shall suffice considering the nature of the emergency. Also, few basic medicines along with a comprehensive first aid kit be available inside the hostels as soon as possible and should be easily accessible to the students. Lastly, if a student needs a medicine after the University in timings; he or she shall be allowed to go out or a person should be made available to the concerned student who can help her get the medicines.

(5) Inability to order food from outside

Another harassment we face at the hands of the matrons and hostel guards is that girls are not allowed to go outside the hostel to collect food that has been ordered after the hostel-in time. The girls are asked various questions for ordering food late and scolded for the same. Even such a minor thing as ordering food has become a cause of major concern inside the girls’ hostel, which is completely inappropriate and has been causing a lot of inconvenience to all the girls. Therefore, it is requested that this arbitrary and oppressive rule be done away with, and girls should be free to order and collect food after hostel in timings, without having to go through such mental harassment each time. If girls stepping out after the hostel in timings is an issue, the girls should be allowed to ask one of the guards on duty to help them out and get the food on their behalf. It is requested that one out of the two mechanisms above-mentioned be implemented.

(6) Safety and security of students both inside and outside the campus

The security outside the campus should also be considered. The street connecting our college to the Parag Crossing and Power House Crossing is dimly lit at all times. It is because of this that the female students get frequently harassed and sometimes even assaulted. There are a few such instances against the male students as well. These may be minor instances, but such instances cannot be ignored. We cannot wait for something major to happen before we start considering the importance of this issue. If such drastic measures are taken for the protection of students inside the campus where they are already quite safe, then their security right outside the campus should not be ignored as well.

Therefore, we request you to make sure there are proper street lights on this road, which are lit properly every day at the required hours. The guards should be in constant touch with 1090 (Women Helpline) and the local police so that immediate action is taken in such cases. Also proper working contact numbers of all the University security personnel should be available to every student so that they can contact them in the case of any emergency, both inside or outside the campus.

(7) Opinion of students be taken before implementation of any hostel rules

It is to bring to your notice that a lot of rules regarding the hostels are being put into effect without consulting or sufficiently informing the students such as closing of the back gate of the girl’s hostel without specifying a reason, reduction in hostel-in timings for girls etc.

Therefore, we request you to kindly find a mechanism wherein the opinion of students can be taken into consideration before implementation of any rule and proper, valid reasons be given for any new rule to be implemented. This will help in reducing the dissatisfaction of the students towards the University and Hostel authorities and will also ensure that students are not caught unawares in any situation.

(8) Lack of an effective mechanism to convey the problems faced by the students to the Vice Chancellor

Till date, there has been a lack of an effective mechanism or a proper procedure to convey the grievances of the entire student body to you, thereby leading to the piling up of all the above-mentioned issues and more. Therefore, we request you to conduct monthly meetings with the student body as a whole, and not separately (since there are a lot of common issues which need to be addressed in the future in relation to attendance, etc.), so that students can convey all their issues and grievances directly to the Vice Chancellor and seek redressal of the same.

We, the students of Dr. RMLNLU, would be highly obliged if you accept this application and consider all our requests in relation to all the grievances mentioned above. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Thanking you
Yours sincerely,
The students,
Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow.

Note: The information mentioned in this letter could not be independently verified.

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