Did you believe college was all about freedom? Think again. Manisha Narayan (name changed) was denied admission to a college in Bhandup because she wasn’t “decently” dressed. The indecent part of the attire: her tight skinny jeans.
On Saturday, members of the Akhil Bharitya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) protested against the dress code of the VK Krishna Menon College, calling it archaic.
Narayan, who informed the ABVP, had gone to submit her admission form for a degree course. After the verification was completed, the officials refused to process the form and instead asked her to return in “decent attire”, an ABVP member said.
Incidentally, this is not the first time the college has refused entry to students for not being “properly” dressed. Though the college, which has about 3,000 students, does not mention the “rule” in black and white in its prospectus, the girl students are discouraged from wearing any tight or revealing clothes, including jeans and churidars.
Prakash Belwade, the state secretary of the ABVP, said, “There is nothing wrong in colleges having a dress code for its students. But they cannot have it as a condition for admissions. They cannot turn away any student for not wearing a decent dress while seeking admission.”
According to the principal of the college, Saroj Phadnis, the rule has been in force for the past 25 years. “But we do not have it as one of the admission criterion,” Phadnis said. “We believe in preserving the Indian culture. A college is a place where you come to learn and there is no need to wear revealing clothes in a place of learning. Students are expected to maintain some kind of decorum on the campus. They need to respect the institution and behave with dignity.”
Phadnis said it was the college management’s decision to implement the code and they hadn’t received any complaints from parents or students. “They appreciate our policies. The people who were protesting were not from our college,” she clarified.
The principal, however, said she would be ready to reconsider the dress code if needed.
According to acting vice-chancellor Chandra Krishnamurthy, colleges can have their dress code, but only after taking the teachers and students’ consent.
“Mumbai University has not prescribed any rule for the same. It is entirely the college management’s decision. However, there is an unwritten code that students are expected to wear decent and comfortable clothes in classrooms,” Krishnamurthy said.