100 1st Year Students From St Stephen’s College Suspended For Low Morning Assembly Attendance

In many English-medium schools and colleges, especially Catholic institutions, the morning assembly holds immense significance. Students are expected to arrive on time to attend the assembly and failing to do so comes with repercussions, sometimes serious ones. And that is what happened at Delhi’s St Stephen’s College.

St Stephen’s College is one of the country’s most prestigious and distinguished liberal arts colleges. We all know how tough it is to get admission to the college in the first place. However, it seems like it is even harder to stick through the years until graduation.

According to NDTV, over 100 first-year students have been suspended from the college for not attending the morning assembly. The students received an email on February 17, where they were informed that they had been suspended and would be debarred from taking the second-semester examination if they didn’t bring their parents.

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At first, the students with low attendance in morning assemblies were asked to meet with the principal. They were sent an email on February 4. The email sent on February 17 was a response to the failure to set up an appointment with the principal, reported TOI.

“Regrettably, due to non-compliance with this request, I inform you that the student will not be permitted to sit for the upcoming examinations as a consequence of suspension,” the administration’s mail read.

The students and teachers have written to Principal John Varghese, urging him to “immediately withdraw the order of suspension of students from college and also withdraw the threat to debar them from appearing in the examinations”. However, there has been no response from the administration.

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“Due to low attendance in the morning assembly, the students are not allowed to attend the classes. They are missing classes. Many teachers are concerned over the action. Many of my students have come to me to tell me that they are living alone. They have no guardian here either. But they are still being asked to call their parents. Their parents cannot come on such short notice,” said a teacher (unnamed) at the college.

“Making assembly attendance compulsory may indeed be violative of the fundamental rights of students under Articles 25 and 28(3) of the Constitution and hence illegal. College assembly has always involved religious prayers and reading from the religious scriptures,” wrote Associate Professor Sanjeev Grewal in a letter to the principal.

Do you think the steps taken by the administration are justified?

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