Punjab University has been in the headlines quite a bit lately.
Earlier this month, the former Vice-Chancellor of Punjab University, Mujahid Kamran was arrested for corruption during his 8-year tenure.
And now, though it would be smart for Punjab University to keep a low profile, a student is revealing the reality of a certain situation at the school and the fact that there seems to be more corruption within the University walls than we thought.
This student at Punjab University is coming forward with ‘moral policing’ allegations and the accusations are quite horrific.
A student at the Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology came forward, on conditions of anonymity, with a number of instances regarding the moral policing of the student body at the hands of the University’s administration.
It started with an image of a notice at the school, outlining the school’s uniform and dress code.
The student said that while most of the school does wear desi clothing anyway, the few who do wear Western clothes from time to time are penalized for exercising their right to dress the way they want. The student explained that though the University may seem like an open-minded establishment, there are many extremist values driven into the school’s foundation.
While the dress code issue is something that is prevalent in universities and colleges all over Pakistan, our source had information on the inner workings of the school that are extremely problematic.
Allegedly, an advisor appointed at the University has been ‘victim-blaming’ women on campus, who have come forward with sexual harassment allegations in the department.
Apparently, the students were explicitly told that the harassment was due to the clothes they were wearing and because this advisor was promoted to the position of director, the notice was rectified.
The student went on to say, “Our institution has almost 95% female students and there has been no issue with dressing ever before. They have explicitly told us that this is meant to discourage westernization but at the same time, men’s dress code includes pants and shirt which again makes it a very sexist policy. Many students have spoken up against it but many have chosen to be apolitical as they are labelled as anti-muslim elements when they speak up. They are also afraid because our teachers hold all the grading power and we might have to pay for this resistance with our grades…”
“…In such a disturbing state of affairs, we are openly bullied by male guards and other men in administration every day and shamed for wearing a simple shirt that is shorter than knee length.”
The student also stated that this kind of environment in a place of learning is absolutely discouraging and students have completely swayed away from coming forward with their own rights especially regarding claims of sexual harassment since the act of victim blaming is now conditioned into those at the University.
They went on to say, “And when I talked to some other women in Kinnaird college and Lahore college and NUST I came to know that they are also facing this type of body policing. Besides Departments of Punjab Universities like IBA, IAS, IBIT, PUCIT, Gender Studies and Sociology etc have students who more openly wear jeans etc. but they do not have any such policy. We are a science department and we are specifically made to follow this dress code rule that never existed in this department before, since 1998.”
Claims like these in the kind of socio-political climate we are living in now are extremely significant and it is extremely important that we do what we can to help. If values like these are encouraged within a learning environment, we really have to ask ourselves and our government, what are we really teaching here?
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Cover photo source: punjabuniversitypk.blogspot.com