By Sreya Salim:
“Can more restrictions in campus ensure a better environment to develop oneself?”
60% out of the batch of 250 MBBS students from Calicut Medical College responded by saying ‘no’ to the above question. In this survey, conducted by the magazine committee of the college, the majority of students expressed their desire for a campus environment that provides freedom and enables them to explore new opportunities. In today’s medical college campuses, a significant number of students focus solely on academics, steering clear of all other activities that would shape them as social beings. The reason is not just due to an interest in academics.
In August 2015, there was an accident which resulted in the death of a student during Onam celebrations in the College of Engineering, Trivandrum. Kerala High Court issued an order to restrict the freedom of college students in the state. The order stipulated a ban on DJ nights, a fixed time limit for cultural activities and restrictions on bringing vehicles inside college campuses.
Students in the college received these rules with mixed emotions. While many students described the order as a form of moral policing, many saw it as disciplinary actions which were required. Even though discussions on the matter are ongoing, it has been enforced in Calicut Medical College. Along with the order, the college has also released a circular with an additional set of restrictions on September 3, curtailing student freedom even further.
According to the circular, the college union office will be closed after 6 pm, the students will have to wear identity cards and ex-servicemen have been entrusted with the security system. The administration is of the opinion that the strict rules are “meant for the well-being” of the students. But many students are of the view that the restrictions are not justified and should be scrapped. Vishnuprasad, a third year MBBS student said, “It has been stated that these restrictions are to prevent ragging on the campus. But, there are no answers to how a prohibition on vehicles can end the menace of ragging. It will only limit our freedom.” The circular also puts a cap on vehicles allowed inside campus and talks about a designated parking area. While each rule of the circular was implemented immediately, no parking space had been allotted until very recently.
Closing the room of the college union after 6 pm has also enraged the students. Arif Sha, the college union chairman feels that the curtailment of freedom in campus will affect the quality of life here. “From wall magazine preparations to discussions and meetings, the union room is crucial for all our activities. The circular doesn’t cite any valid reason to close it early,” said Sha.
College students are adults. Do we really need protection from vehicles? How will the prohibition of DJ nights ensure our safety? Reflecting on the opinions written by many students, the beloved campus may become something like an army camp sometime in the future. In educational institutions, students should not blindly follow a set of rules without questioning it.