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Girl students up in arms over Hyderabad college's dress code diktat

At least 500 students of St. Francis College for Women in Hyderabad on Monday took part in a protest against the college's management over the rule on the length of Kurtis and tops, in front of their college gate for more than two hours in the morning.

Girl students up in arms over Hyderabad college's dress code diktat

Hyderabad: At least 500 students of St. Francis College for Women in Hyderabad on Monday took part in a protest against the college's management over the rule on the length of Kurtis and tops, in front of their college gate for more than two hours in the morning.

The students belonging to various undergraduate and postgraduate courses came together and held placards to protest against the newly-imposed dress code brought in by the management. "I am sorry..did my knees distract you from reading this poster?'' read a placard. "Protesting to educate you about equality,'' read another. "D Grade mindset = B Grade NAAC,'' read one more

St. Francis College for Women is one of the most popular and most sought after colleges in Hyderabad, with more than 4,000 total strength of students. In the academic year beginning from August 1,  the college management implemented a dress code prescribed in the college prospectus and the student handbook in full compliance. According to the college dress code, the undertaking of which is signed by students at the time of seeking admissions, students can either wear Salwar-Kameez or long tops which are not sleeveless or with cold-Shoulder or short in length.

At the beginning of the academic year 2019-2020, the students were cautioned that their clothes should be minimum knee-length. This rule became the bone of contention as several students objected to it, and called it "regressive". 

"Many of us were being sent back from the college gate itself if the women security guards found our kurtis or tops even an inch above the knees. We are okay with the dress code but the explanation given by some of our teachers saying we will be stared or we won't get marriage proposals if we don't dress properly put us off,'' said one of the protesting students.

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However, the college authorities have issued a statement responding to the students' charges.

Principal Sr Sandra Horta in the note said, "False allegations that the dress code was to bring marriage proposals, to avoid male attention and use of names of body parts did the rounds of social media. Whatever that had been written as code, reconfirmed as a specific name of a dress was for the sole purpose to have uniformity and decorum and help students to focus and enjoy the core purpose of their association with the college. It was and never was to dictate or curtail their freedom."

Meanwhile, parents of the students have expressed the need to resolve this issue between college management and students amicably. "There seems to be some misunderstanding or communication gap here. It should be sorted out. No one should get the blame, be it college management or the students,'' opined Vishal Bhandari, a parent.

As of now a "ceasefire'' has been declared by both the sides- the college management and students on the dress code issue.