Zambia’s leading university on Monday asked female students to stop visiting the library “half-naked”, suggesting that their skimpy outfits were distracting their male counterparts.
A notice stuck in front of the main library at the University of Zambia, the country’s biggest institution of learning with over 35,000 students, urged female students to dress “modestly” when using the facility.
“It has come to our attention that some female students dress half-naked as they use the library, a situation which is disturbing the male students,” read the notice.
“We therefore advise the female students to dress modestly as you use university facilities”.
Some students were upset at the directive.
“Why should they ask them how to dress? Let them wear what they want anytime and anywhere,” male student Anthony Kunda, adding, “if there are some male students that are not happy that is their problem”.
Another male student who asked not to be named described the university’s instruction as “dictatorial”.
“There is nothing wrong with the way these girls dress. In fact most male students enjoy it and why should they dictate how they dress?” he said.
Zambia is largely conservative and authorities have declared it a Christian nation.
Barbra Musonda, a student at the school of education and a devout Catholic, however backed the university’s decision.
She told AFP that some students go to the library without underwear or even bare-breasted.
“What happens in the library is not acceptable of a Christian nation,” said Musonda.
Student Getrude Ngwira went so far as to suggest the introduction of a dress code for female students.
“Let them introduce a dress code not only for the library but even when attending lectures. The dressing by most girls is really unacceptable,” she said.