11 July 2024

A group of Chulalongkorn University students have rallied in the compound of their dormitory to protest against the imposition of strict controls over their access to and from the dormitory between April 13th and 26th, arguing that the rules amount to a breach of their right to freedom of movement.

The protesting student said that maintaining that self-isolation is a matter of individual conscience, and not an imposed regulation, and they demand the lifting of the strict controls and proposed alternative measures.

They suggest that students may enter or exit the dormitory compound, but they must identify themselves to security guards at the gate. No outsiders are to be allowed to enter the compound, with the exception of their parents who arrive in their cars and who may not leave their vehicles.

Entry to or exit from the dormitory building is limited and the students must wear face masks all the time while outside their rooms. The finger scanning devices must be cleansed with disinfectant every ten minutes.

Responding to the protesters’ demands, Dr. Chaiyaporn Phuprasert, vice rector for student affairs, explained that the restrictions are intended to ensure the safety of the students and to limit the risk of the transmission of COVID-19 to the community and their families.

Denying that the students are forbidden to leave the dormitory, he said that the university adopted the restrictions with concern for the safety the students and society as a whole, noting that the students have the right to choose between going home or staying at the dormitory.

He explained that, since students in the dormitory must share bathrooms and many share rooms, it is mandatory that they are checked before they are allowed to exit the compound.

Dr. Chaiyaporn admitted that he is fully aware of the rights and liberties of the students, but pointed out that public safety is no less important.