UGC seeks details of security arrangements at varsities, colleges

University Grants Commission has asked colleges and universities across the country to furnish the details on whether they have a policy and procedure for dealing with sexual harassment cases, a copy of its guidelines, complaints received in the last two years and their outcomes. The move aims at helping the task force set up by UGC to recommend measures for ensuring women's and youths' safety on campuses. UGC has also asked institutes whether there are different timings for male and female students returning to their respective hostels and differences in the rules for each, like the number of "late nights" and "night outs" allowed.

Institutes will have to give details on time taken to to address a complaint, number of times the committee against sexual harassment met in the last two years, measures taken to publicize the existing policies/procedures against sexual harassment and existing institutional arrangements to address issues related to the safety of women on campus, whether students or employees.

The purpose is to help UGC identify any inadequacies in existing procedures and practices in order to formulate remedial measures to "address the concerns of women, and the youth"."The task force would like to visit campuses to interact with authorities, students, faculty and staff to learn how to facilitate and support efforts in this crucial area that requires urgent and significant engagement to assess best practices and also take on board suggestions for the improvement of existing mechanisms of redressal," says the circular.

Besides seeking information on challenges faced and whether institutes prepare an annual report of the activities done by the committee against sexual harassment, it has called for details on measures in place for raising awareness against harassment or violence in the institution.

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