Mumbai: Safety Number One Priority For City Colleges

Mumbai: Safety Number One Priority For City Colleges

Colleges in India are stepping up efforts to ensure the safety of female students in the wake of recent attacks. Measures include female security guards, infrastructure improvements, and self-defense workshops. Find out more about the initiatives being taken to create safer college campuses.

Megha ChowdhuryUpdated: Tuesday, January 16, 2024, 10:56 AM IST
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RD Natinal College | official

In the wake of a series of attacks on women in the city as well as the country, colleges said they have been gearing up to ensure the safety of their female students.

Earlier in 2023, University of Grants Commission (UGC) had also developed guidelines for setting up women cells in institutes. The committee set up by the UGC observed that there “a strong need to challenge the culture of silence that perpetuates the acts of violence against women, be it within the campus or outside.

With the goal of making college campuses safer, Neha Jagtiani, Principal of RD & SH National College in Mumbai says, "We already have female security guards on campus which are catering to girls. In addition to other infrastructure improvements, we have added grills to the entrance gate to ensure the safety and security of both employees and students.  It's a huge college so we have CCTV installed at every nook and corner.”

The Women Development Cell in the college also ensures that women safety is taken seriously on campus. There are various programs and activities that are conducted all year long that emphasize safety and security.

Krupali Ruparelia, a first year student at RD National college, says, “All first year students are given an option to enroll in this cell. I have joined it as well. I am looking forward to participating in all the programs that the cell will conduct. Safety should be taken seriously and I am glad the cell works for the same all year long.”

Speaking to a security guard at the College, she stated,” Yes, these are dangerous times and we need to be careful, and make sure that we make safe choices. But the college has a larger responsibility to protect and safeguard its own students too. We've been making sure that adequate inspections are made at the main gate itself, if nothing else, to ensure that strangers can't enter, commit a crime, and then leave without fear.”

Uma Shankar, principal of SIES College, Sion, said her campus security is up to the mark. "The college, however, is tying up with an NGO to conduct self-defense workshops, particularly from female students."

She added that the college also follows a teacher-mentor programme where every teacher mentors around 25-30 girl students who have regular conversations with students and finds if they have been victims of sexual harassment or any other harassment either in public or at home.

The Free Press Journal also found out that college students are far more willing to talk to their friends about unwanted sexual experiences than they are to college authorities. 

While speaking with 15 students on campus who claimed to have had unwanted sexual contact, 8 stated they told their friends or roommates, but only four had gone to their mentors or local police. 

However, Mumbai university women's development cell chairperson Dr. Ashwini Halbe Karwande said "Women development cells in colleges should be more active to spread awareness, and counseling facilities should be activated more frequently."

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