St. Stephen’s College had allegedly suspended around 100 first-year students last week “for not attending the morning assembly” and debarred them from sitting in the upcoming examinations. On Tuesday, the college withdrew its order, citing miscommunication on the part of the administration. 

More than 100 students of St. Stephen’s College had been suspended for not attending the morning assembly after they failed to bring their parents and guardians with them to meet the college principal. The students had also been notified that they would not be allowed to sit for the upcoming semester-end examinations. However, the principal informed the students on Tuesday that this was all a clerical error and that the email was “wrongly worded” as per The Hindu. 

Students of St. Stephen’s College received an email on February 4 asking them to set up an appointment along with their parents and guardians with the college principal to discuss the matter of low attendance. As many students failed to comply with this request on short notice, they were sent another email on February 17, informing them that they had been suspended. 

The email from Principal John Varghese stated, “This is to bring to your kind notice that there was a prior request for you to meet with the principal regarding low attendance in the morning assembly. Unfortunately, we noted that you were unable to report to the principal’s office as requested. Regrettably, due to non-compliance with this request, I inform you that the students will not be permitted to sit for the upcoming examinations as a consequence of suspension.” 

Many teachers from the college had raised concerns about the unexpected suspension and had come forth in saying that the grounds for suspension are not legitimate as the morning assembly is a convention specific to St. Stephen’s College and is not recognised by the university (not to talk of it being a requirement for appearing in the examinations).

The notices had also caused distress among students as many of them do not belong to the Delhi-NCR region and live alone without a guardian; hence, their families couldn’t travel all the way to Delhi “at short notice due to prior commitments, scheduling issues, and financial issues. 

The order by the principal was met with a lot of discontent, and as students sat in protest, the college was informed on Tuesday through an email from Principal John Varghese that “it was a miscommunication, incorrectly worded, and my sincere apologies for that. I was also not copied on that email.

“The morning assembly is an old tradition of the college. It is not a religious event, even though small portions of several religious texts are read out. The college encourages all junior members to participate in the morning assembly,” it added.

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Image Credits: Hindustan Times

Saanvi Manchanda 

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