Women students and teachers of Patna University (PU) would now feel safer, as the varsity has decided to strengthen security and institute a gender sensitisation committee to probe complaints of sexual harassment.
The initiative was taken after University Grants Commission (UGC) issued a directive to all institutions across the country to review and strengthen security measures for women on campuses.
PU vice-chancellor Shambhu Nath Singh told The Telegraph: “The committee, headed by a senior female teacher of the university, will look into the problems faced by women at the university.”
The UGC, in a letter to all universities and institutes of higher learning, had also directed to start gender sensitisation courses.
Singh said: “The university till now has not received any such letter from the UGC. We have started the process of instituting a gender sensitisation committee.”
He added that the committee would be different from the existing eve-teasing and ragging committee.
The panel would take up gender discrimination issues, such as eve-teasing, molestation, discrimination based on gender and other problems faced by women.
The body would also seek support of the newly elected members of Patna University Students’ Union (Pusu).
The VC said Pusu elected members would have a better knowledge of the problems plaguing the students and they could directly inform the committee about it.
Depending upon the nature of the accusation, action would be initiated. The punishments can range from imposing fines to even expulsion from college.
Newly elected Pusu general secretary Anshu Kumari said: “Upgrade of security of women on the campus was one of the major issues during the union polls.” She added: “Pusu will set up a women’s cell in all colleges and the students can directly approach the unit to report against eve-teasing and gender discrimination.”
Anshu said the Pusu members would regularly monitor the cell.
The general secretary added: “Apart from a few colleges such as Patna Women’s College and Magadh Mahila College, there are no security arrangements for students. The absence of a separate body to deal with such cases forces women to keep mum about eve-teasing incidents.”
PU department of women studies co-ordinator Padamlata Thakur said: “It is good that the university is instituting a gender sensitisation committee. However, problems won’t be resolved by only forming the panel.”
She added that her department would organise various workshops and seminars at different colleges to raise awareness about respecting men and women equally.