In yet another incident of students versus faculty, NSLUI students protested the untoward comments of a distinguished senior professor against one of his students who wore shorts to class. The professor began by singling her out for her attire in front of the class and when the student in question attempted to pose an objection, he moved on to comment upon her character with a final dismissive remark which left the rest of the class stunned.
“You can come to class without a dress also. That is how your character is, I’m going to ignore you.”
Well, so much for constructive discourse in an institute of higher education. The very next day, the professor was greeted by an entire class of students protesting by wearing shorts demanded an official apology. Surprisingly, he refused. The response to which was this.
The vice-chancellor of the college, Professor Venkat Rao was unavailable for comment at the time.
However this is not an isolated incident. In SGBT Khalsa College boys are not allowed to wear shorts or capris because we all know that hairy legs are a turn off, right? What’s worse is that the incidents of dress code restrictions upon college going girls are far too numerous to count and one has to wonder if we’ve just silently accepted this as a design flaw of society, so to speak, and begun submitting to it. In fact, this is a phenomenon that transcends age or any other social group.
This isn’t just about moral policing. The issue isn’t even that a professor singled out a student and humiliated them in class because lets face it, how many of us can say we’ve never been picked on by a teacher. The problem that no one is talking about is that our values, culturally and behaviorally, are being defined for us and then being raised to a pedestal beyond reproach, where they may not be questioned.
And if you do, this is what happens.
What is really at stake here is the freedom to question. Which is what higher education is all about when you think about.