|Some of the distractions in local campuses|
By Rose Kwamboka
“Masturbation in the showers and the bathroom stalls is a violation of the Kenyatta University Housing Code,” goes the first part of a notice from the Kenyatta University accommodation office. As a point of emphasis, the notice further states: “Our drains are not built to withstand semen.” The students are not however, left without an option as the notice clearly indicates: “Please, masturbate in your bedroom. And just in case you have a question regarding the enforcement of the masturbation policy, feel free to direct your concerns to the housekeeper.”
The university gives sufficient reason for the enforcement of this policy: “Every year, Kenyatta University spends thousands of money in maintenance because of excessive amounts of semen stuck in the pipes. The repair costs will be directly reflected in your fees requirement next academic year. The cost cannot be charged to the university’s finance office as the repair is done through independent contractors, not KU personnel.”
Such are the strange rules that meet new students in institutes of higher learning. In Zetech College, you are not allowed to have best friends around you to avoid ‘groupism’ and cliques. In what seems to be Kenya’s holiest university, Baraton, students and residents are expected to attend church service every single day with the exception of Saturdays, when church is to be attended four times; at 7am, 9am, 10am and 12noon, in obedience to the commandment in the Good Book that states, ‘Keep the Sabbath day holy’.
Every student is issued with a church card to keep track of how often they attend church. Missing more than 21 church services in a semester earns you a two-semester suspension. “People have been known not to graduate as a result of non-attendance of church,” says a Baraton alumnus.
Being a school run by Seventh Day Adventists (SDA), students are not allowed to eat meat on campus and one would not graduate unless they have completed the Christian Belief course, regardless of their denomination.
The school does not believe in competitive sports hence does not compete in any tournaments, and is not signed to any university sports activity. The school has two different deans, for male students and another for females. The deans authorise and issue leave-out sheets for the students. Each student is allowed only three leave-outs per semester. Before you graduate, you need to go through a ‘candle lighting’, where you light a candle in the dark and are prayed for by a priest.
Above the knee
Documented in Strathmore University’s student handbook is a conclusive list of what one can and cannot wear to school. On the list are jeans and any form of slippers, sneakers and rubber shoes. Ladies are not to wear any skirt or dress where the hemline rises above the knee once the wearer is in a sitting position. ‘Loosely fitting,’ is the guiding principle for outfits. No funny hairstyles are allowed. Funny here, refers to Afros for guys and dyed hair for girls. Sleeveless tops are a definite no-no as they are thought to be a distraction to the opposite sex.
The school has employed fashion cops at each entry point to ensure that ‘law breakers’ are not allowed access into the campus. Your school ID will be confiscated as you go home to change clothes. The school argues that all this is in preparation for the workplace environment. In its bag of stringent rules is the policy that all public displays of affection beyond hand-shaking is prohibited.
Incidents of hand-holding or hugging caught on camera earn you a direct two-week suspension for ‘unsuitable interaction’ between students. Hugs between the same sex are allowed but only for a four-second maximum with no bosoms touching. Kissing is unheard of. It is a no-no. You can save the kiss for your wedding night since any pregnancy out of wedlock results in immediate expulsion from the university.
No drinks other than water are allowed into lecture halls. Playing poker and cards is not allowed due to the association with gambling, which is also banned. If you intend to graduate, ensure you have seen your ‘mentor’, who is assigned to you at the beginning of your stay at the university, at least twice in a semester.
|Tattoos, chains and tight clothes are not allowed Photo: Courtesy|
Daystar University also has a dress code. Tight clothes are not allowed. If caught, you are summoned into the dean’s office for disciplinary action. To gain admission into this university, you need to write a personal testimony declaring that you believe in God or indicating that you are saved, that is to say, you accept Jesus as Lord and saviour. Failure to stick to this results in the school still admitting you, but also enrolling you in a theology class to impart the knowledge of the Bible.
African Nazarene University also has stringent laws on jewellery. One is not allowed to wear any form of dangling jewellery as it is considered a distracting accessory. In Baraton, you are not allowed to have dreadlocks. At the Kabarak University, male students are not allowed close to the women’s’ hostels, but women were allowed to visit male students between noon and 3pm. Moreover, the women are only allowed within the hostel compound and not inside the hostels themselves.
Not surprisingly, the ban on visiting hostels is not limited to Kabarak alone, but is a trend that seems to be spreading across all campuses. At Moi University, they observe the ‘10 to 10’ rule where visits to the men and women’s hostels by members of the opposite sex are only allowed between 10am and 10pm.
In the hostels, every room is allowed to have only two chairs even if the room has four occupants. In case of fire, you are to shout “Fire, Fire!” and attack the fire. No cooking is allowed. In the same university, students are banned from speaking to the media unless authorised by the university. You are not allowed to park your automobile in the hostel area unless you have special clearance from school security.
Rules are rules
The same curfew policy applies to the University of Nairobi. No male student is to be spotted around the ladies hostel past 10pm but the men’s hostels have no such curfew. At Baraton, one cannot get into the school compound past 6pm; whether you had permission to be out of school or not, and no one is to be seen walking around school premises beyond 11pm.
Class attendance is taken seriously at Strathmore. You cannot sit exams if you have not attended 75 per cent of the classes and sat two continuous assessment tests. While Google may be your best friend, you are not allowed to cite Wikipedia – the collaboratively edited online encyclopaedia – as a source, as it shows how ‘unserious’ you are. Signing the class register for an absent classmate is an offense punishable by suspension.
As a Nairobi University student, one has to swear before a commissioner of oaths or magistrate to uphold the rules and regulations as stipulated in the student hand book. Cooking in the hostel is also prohibited, according to the rules. At St. Paul’s University, there is an elaborate dress code rule too. Female students are not supposed to dress in skirts that go above the knee. In simple words mini-skirts and shorts are out.
You should not be caught in body-hugging trousers, dirty or torn jeans, navel-grazers, see-through dresses, low-riding trousers, hot pants and any clothes that have obscene wordings or graphics. Leave your nose rings at home and don’t be caught with a bare back. Male students should not let their trousers sag or have braided hair or dreadlocks.
They should not display tattoos, wear jewellery, necklaces, studs and rings, hats or caps, head scarves or torn jeans. Women cannot wear strong perfumes and should exercise modest use and application of lipstick.