Their eyes opened by the mobile phone sex scandal in a leading Delhi school, educational institutions in Calcutta are framing a code of conduct for students who carry these gadgets on campus.
The West Bengal University of Technology on Sunday called for measures to introduce mobile phone etiquette, in the light of a raft of complaints it has received from female students enrolled in engineering or management courses in its 70-odd college affiliates. About 50 of them are in Calcutta or on its fringes.
'We were working towards evolving a mobile phone-related code much before the Delhi incident occurred,' said Samir Bandopadhyay, university registrar, on Sunday. 'The Delhi incident has prodded us to frame guidelines for cell phone use on campus'we are coming across cases where women students are being stalked on cell phones.'
University officials said several girl students had decided to dispense with mobile phones after they began to be swamped with sexually-explicit SMS's (short messaging service), allegedly from male students of their institutions.
'We understand we cannot ban the mobile phone on our campus,' one official said. 'But we can make the owner/ user responsible in many ways. For instance, we may prohibit a student from carrying a phone set equipped with the multi-media messaging service (MMS).'
But the university authorities and women students being stalked on their mobile phones are unwilling to bring in the police at this point. 'I am getting messages that only a sick mind can conceive of and send across. I have a fair idea about the sender. But the moment I bring the police in, I am turning my entire class into one big enemy for me,' said one victim.
The guidelines, to be enforced shortly, will require the authorities of each college-affiliate to make a cell phone-owning/using student submit to the authorities a list detailing his/her name, phone number, make and other features of the gadget and relevant data.
A cell phone-owning/using student will be required to:
Switch off the phone in class, laboratory and library
Switch it on only during breaks
Use restricted ring tones
Get a clearance from guardians/parents.
'This is a must exercise for the college-affiliate as well as the owner/user,' the registrar said, adding that a meeting has been lined up for next week with the college-affiliates, where the guidelines may undergo certain finetuning.
Mobile phones are also a problem for many prominent city-based English-medium schools. Two weeks ago, a girl student of one such school in Howrah wanted to kill herself after her 'boyfriend' forwarded to her parents 'a suggestive SMS' to get even with the girl after a spat.
'We want to forget the incident' All of us aged overnight,' said the school principal, who requested anonymity.