St. Stephen's College Allegedly Suspends Over 100 Students For Missing Morning Assembly

St. Stephen's College Allegedly Suspends Over 100 Students For Missing Morning Assembly

The alleged suspension was criticised by a member of faculty at the college for “forcing” to take part in a religious activity and on grounds of university rules and regulations.

PTIUpdated: Tuesday, February 20, 2024, 12:31 PM IST
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St. Stephens College, Delhi University | Twitter/@StStephensClg

More than 100 first-year students of Delhi University’s St Stephen’s College were allegedly suspended for not attending morning assembly, teachers and students claimed on Tuesday. According to an email by the first-year students to Principal John Varghese on Monday, they were also debarred from the second semester examination after allegedly failing to meet the principal with their parents for missing the assembly.

There was no immediate reaction available from Varghese. “We are writing to you regarding the emails sent on February 17, 2024 (Saturday), to over 100 first-year students of St Stephen’s College in which they were suspended and debarred from the semester 2 examinations,” the students said in the email to Varghese.

“The reason cited was a failure to set up an appointment with the principal in response to the email sent on February 4, 2024 (Sunday), wherein these first-year students were asked to do the same due to low attendance in the morning assemblies in the month of January,” they said. The students further said in the email that setting up an appointment wasn’t feasible for many “since their parents do not live in Delhi-NCR and, hence, it wasn’t possible for them to travel all the way to Delhi at short notice due to prior commitments, scheduling issues, and financial issues”. An email sent to the students’ parents and guardians, informing them that their wards had been barred from the second semester examination was claimed to be written by the personal secretary to the principal.

“Regrettably, due to non-compliance with the request, I inform you that the students will not be allowed to sit for the upcoming examination as consequences of the suspension,” according to the email sent to the students’ parents and guardians. The students claimed that their attempts to fix appointments without their guardians were also rejected.

Suspension received criticism

The alleged suspension was criticised by a member of faculty at the college for “forcing” to take part in a religious activity and on grounds of university rules and regulations. He also demanded disciplinary action against the person concerned who sent the email. Sanjeev Grewal, head of the college’s economics department, said in an email dated February 20 (Tuesday) to Principal Varghese, “I am quite shocked to know that a large number of students have been suspended from college and it has been threatened that they will also be debarred from appearing in the examinations. In my opinion, students can be debarred from appearing in the examinations only on the grounds explicitly stated in the university rules and regulations. To the best of my knowledge, the shortage of attendance in the morning college assembly is not a ground for debarring students from appearing in the examinations.”

“The morning assembly is a convention specific to St Stephen’s College and is not recognised by the university. Nor does the failure to attend morning assembly, in my humble opinion, constitute a legitimate ground for suspension from the college,” Grewal added.

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