Students of the Madras Christian College (MCC) in Chennai staged a protest on the college campus on Thursday, 31 March, alleging moral policing and harassment by the faculty.
The college union society also submitted a petition with a list of 11 grievances, including complaints of misogyny and sexism within the campus.
The petition included claims that the college authorities had suspended male and female students for "holding hands," adding that while there were no restrictions on interactions between male and female students in the past, those who were doing so currently were being subjected to harassment.
It also stated that students must not be humiliated or criticised on the basis of their apparel or accessories and that they must not be "recorded in their private space without their consent."
The student body also slammed the physical checking of students' attire on the campus.
Student Body Doesn't Approve Checking of Dresses: Petition
"Students have also raised issues regarding the dress code and the regulation of it in our college. The student body does understand the necessity of dress codes, but it doesn't approve the dissent checking of students' dresses," the letter stated.
The student body also alleged that staff members had sent messages to the guardians of students directly, saying that they had videos of them.
The body added that such claims were made without any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the students or a proper inquiry into the matter, causing mental health problems for the students.
"Students who face such baseless allegations have not only been traumatised, but also have resorted to counselling, and extreme situations in which students have been hospitalised (sic)," the letter said.
Demand for Thorough Investigation
The body demanded a thorough investigation into the allegations, and called for strict action against erring staff members.
They also emphasised the importance of sexual harassment workshops to sensitise the faculty, saying, "In order to raise awareness among both the staff and students, workshops highlighting topics of sexual harassment and abuse must be conducted."
They added that while actions were always taken whenever students overstepped their boundaries, similar actions were not initiated against staff members for violating rules or crossing a line.