February 03, 2018
JEDDAH: Female students will no longer need parental consent to leave the university campus, according to a statement issued by Taif University on Wednesday.
The university explained on it official Twitter account that the decision resulted from royal decree No. 33323, which asked government agencies not to require women to obtain the consent of a guardian when providing services to them “unless there is a legal basis for this request,” the statement said.
The university administration said that it was a public facility like other public facilities that provided services to citizens, stressing that it was neither valid nor within its authority to restrict people’s movement or freedom at the university.
The university’s rector said a unified policy would be applied to male and female students alike.
Nujood Al-Qasem, a Saudi lawyer, told Arab News: “I think this decision is a bold step, and can have a positive impact by spreading a spirit of confidence and freedom and self-reliance among female students. It will facilitate their lives and they will be able to easily practice their other duties and not worry about attending their lectures when there are other necessary commitments in their lives.”
“On the other hand, it also may result in a negative feedback, and cultural, moral and religious awareness is needed so this step is not going to be used in the wrong way,” she said.
Al-Qasem added: “I believe what has delayed the issuance of such decisions until now is the fear of experimenting with new changes, especially when there’s no clear binding law to be implemented, also the fear of it not being applied or exploited in the best way.”
The decision was welcomed on the university’s Twitter account. “A great initiative and an unprecedented distinction thanks to the godfather of development Dr. Husam Zaman. Taif University is taking developmental and educational steps,” said Abdulrahman Al-Harbi, commenting on the university’s tweet.
“Women were not allowed to leave the university before 10am-11am,” said a Twitter user.