In a big win for the students of Hyderabad’s St Francis Women’s College, the management on Monday finally lifted the diktat to wear knee-length kurtis to the college. The students of the college had been protesting against the controversial dress code and had alleged moral policing by the college authorities since August.
On Monday morning, the students had blocked the entrance to the college in order to strike a dialogue with the college management.
Speaking to TNM, a student at the college campus said the dress-code has been lifted and the same was informed to the student representatives who were in discussions with the St. Francis management. "We are now allowed to dress as per the undertaking which allows us to wear clothes except mini-skirts and crop tops," the student added.
The dress code, which was brought into force from August 1, made it mandatory for the students to wear knee-length kurtis. The students were not happy with the decision as it was not easy for a section of students to change their wardrobe in between a semester and also many could not afford the college's new decision. They also said the new dress code didn’t aim at bringing uniformity among students but was a result of regressive patriarchal mind-set.
The students claimed that their attempts to hold a discussion with the management were futile as they were again moral-policed and told that their parents sent them to college in order to “get good marriage proposals” in the future.
The situation worsened on Friday when the college appointed female security guards who heckled the students and prevented them from attending classes for wearing kurtis that were slightly above the knee. A video of the college principal, Sr Sandra Horta, also emerged, where she was seen checking the dress of the students.
A student had then told TNM, “We don't want to be a part of an institution that wants to institutionalise this kind of patriarchy. Speaking to us in such a tone, giving us subliminal messages that we are arousing males, I don't think is a very appropriate environment or a good environment for all of us to be in. I don't think it helps our intellectual development either.”
Despite repeated attempts, the school principal did not respond to the calls or messages from TNM on the issue.