Contributed by Pratyush Kanth, (History '92) www.timesofindia.com


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www.timesofindia.com
May 27, 1997
 
St. Stephen's Residence is No More Male Sanctum Sanctorum
By Pratyush Kanth (Hist'92)
 
NEW DELHI: It has taken 116 years for St Stephen's College to admit women
students to its ``residence.'' A woman Stephanian called it the end of
male dominance in the tradition-bound college.
 
In Stephen's the staff and students refer to the hostel as ``residence''
and call boarders ``residents.'' Since the college's birth in 1881, the
"residence" has been out of bounds for women, even visitors.
 
College principal Anil Wilson said, ``The supreme council (of the college)
had decided at its meeting on May 24 that the college should have a hostel
for girls. This will start from the coming academic session.''
 
Mr Wilson said,``The decision has been taken in view of the difficulties
faced by outstation women students staying out. They were not getting
proper food and facing problems in commuting to college.''
 
An exultant history (honours) student Geetanjali Sheokand said,"It will
not be a male-dominated college anymore.'' And many brilliant outstation
girls will not be denied admission now, she added.
 
Till 1943, the college enrolled women students. This was discontinued
later. Though, the college turned co-educational in 1975, women students
were still kept out of the "residence", both as boarders and visitors.
 
Stephen's will now be the second college in the Delhi University with a
mixed hostel. The Shri Ram College of Commerce threw open its hostel to
women students two years ago, amid protests by some men boarders.
 
As in Shri Ram, a section of the "residence" is being set aside for women
students, leaving fewer rooms available to men residents. Mr Wilson said,
``Local boys will not be given rooms in the 'residence' any more.''
 
Allnutt South, one of the six independent blocks of Stephen's
``residence,'' is being marked exclusively for women residents. ``It will
have a lady tutor and a warden,'' said Mr Wilson.
 
The other five blocks which remain with men students have a block tutor
each. The extra ``police force'' in the form of a warden is being
appointed to check against any threat to discipline.
 
Allnutt South can take in 54 boarders. The first-year women students will
share rooms two in one, while the seniors will get a room each; just like
it is for the men residents. This block will be exclusively for women.
 
But everything else will be shared, such as the dinning hall, the junior
combination room (common room), the gymnasium and the cafe in the evening.
So will be the late-night tea at the on-campus dhaba.
 
A former Stephanian, fashion designer Rohit Bal said, ``Now the
Stephanians (boys) will be on their toes. They cannot afford to be dirty
and it will make the boys who are coming from small towns more
confident.''
 
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