UNZA reverses ban on sexy library dress

University of Zambia Librarian Christine Kanyengo says the memo that was stuck in the library asking female students not to go there ‘half naked’ was not issued by management.

In an interview with News Diggers! Kanyembo said she suspected the memo was put up by some members of staff, after receiving some complaints from some male students, without authority from management.

“I think everyone who is within the University knows that there is no dress code, as far as I also know and if there is any change in any policy regarding dress code, it should come from the Registrar’s office. But also, when the University Library management were made aware of that notice, we immediately took it down because it was not officially authorized to go out. I am told that it’s some members from the staff and security department who put up the notice because there were complaints from some students, some male students were complaining,” Kanyembo said.

She said the University Library has no intentions of imposing a dress code on female students.

“But I think, speaking for myself as a female, I don’t believe that there should be a dress code, this is an environment which for those who have been here for a long time know that there is no any dress code unless we have been advised, but as far as I know, there has been no change on dress code policy. The complaint from male students should be raised within the official channels within the university and then management will offer a response,” said Kanyembo.

In a statement today, Kanyembo apologized to female students for any inconvenience and stressed that UNZA was a secular institution which was built on the principles of diversity.

And UNZA Public Relations Manager Damaseke Chibale said the memo had no blessings of both the Library and the entire UNZA management.

“That memo which was stuck on UNZA Library notice board had no blessings from the UNZA librarian, which means the library management did not issue that memo. Secondly, it is not even in the mind of management to change the dress code for the library. The University of Zambia has operated for a long time, there are only a few etiquettes that should be observed when someone is in the Library, for example you cannot take food and start eating whilst your friends are studying, you cannot make noise whilst your friends are studying. Those are the basic rules that we know. So the University of Zambia management and the University of Zambia Library are not aware of that memo, and no wonder that person upon hearing that, the memo has mysteriously disappeared. So I have just been investigating and that’s what I have been told that the memo is no longer there. In fact, there are only two offices that can come up with rules for students; the Vice Chancellor’s office and the Registrar. And even when we are opening or closing the University, all the memos are either signed by the Vice Chancellor, the Registrar or the Public Relations office,” he said.

Chibale disclosed that the management had since launched an investigation to find the person who put up the notice.

“I would like to mention that investigations are under way to find out the person that issued that memo, we have tasked a team of security officers to investigate the issue. The Library management has also started investigations internally. So such a memo did not reflect the views and opinion of the Library management, neither does it reflect the views of UNZA management,” said Chibale.

The memo drew sharp reactions from citizens after it went viral on social media, Monday.

NGOCC board chairperson Sera Longwe said the decision to impose a dress code was an infringement on female students’ rights and advised male students to control their sexual urges.

         

Thomas Mulenga

About Thomas Mulenga

Thomas Mulenga is a fourth year Media Studies student at the University of Zambia. He is also a presenter for UNZA Radio's Lusaka Star programme which focuses on politics and current affairs.

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