A furore was created at the Loyola Academy, Old Alwal after students protested against the newly-appointed vice-principal’s ‘harsh behaviour’
It was more than what the new vice principal bargained for. Students of Loyola Academy on Friday staged a protest, that slipped to violence, against the “harsh” and “uncouth” behaviour of the newly-appointed vice-principal, Fr Rex Angelo who allegedly was overly finicky about discipline. Starting at 2 pm, the fracas and breaking windows continued till the college came out with a statement announcing his suspension.
“Since day one, Father Rex has been unreasonable and forceful. He has manhandled many students,” says a student who led the strike. The trigger incident began in the morning, when a second year mass communication student greeted a fellow male student in front of the VP. The VP, who had made a previous announcement regarding ‘unwanted socialising between the genders,’ allegedly confiscated her ID card, without which a student is not allowed to attend class. The student was asked to bring her parents. The VP then allegedly verbally abused the girl and told the father that the girl’s conduct was questionable and might result in rape.
A protest, started by her classmates caught on, and soon many students gathered in front of the PG block in a silent protest. They demanded that the current VP be removed and marched on to his office. The police were called.
A crowd of around 500 stormed the building. This included members of the National Student Union Of India (NSUI). Also present were TRS members, and media. “It has only been a few weeks since Father Rex was appointed, and we have already received hundreds of complaints. We have never faced such a situation before,” says Janaki Ram, an NSUI member.
Meanwhile, the VP locked himself in his room and refused dialogue with the students. The victimised student’s father was also present with him, and the students were allegedly told that he would be let out only if the protest broke up. The agitated the students resorted to violence, breaking glass and attempting to break down the office door. The girl’s father is said to have a cardiac condition.
“It is unorganised. People are screaming, shouting slogans ‘We want justice’, but I doubt everyone understands the situation. Many just seem to be having fun,” says Kevin Crasta, a student.
“We have heard several gripes about the VP and students have lodged complaints. But no action has been taken so far,” said a faculty member on conditions of anonymity.
The protest did not break up even with the downpour. The students only left after a public statement was given by the college. “In an emergency meeting, we have decided to suspended father Rex until further decision,” said the correspondent addressing the crowd. The incident is said to be the first of its kind to occur in the college in a decade.