Non-binary or transgender students seeking admission at the University of Gujrat (UoG) will be able to affirm their identity on an equal footing with their cisgender counterparts by ticking the third gender option of ‘Transgender’ in the application form. The proposal to include an extra gender column was approved by the varsity’s academic council as it held its 16th meeting here at Hafiz Hayat Campus with Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr Shabbar Atiq in the chair. Yesterday’s proceedings began with the council approving the agenda of the previous meeting. The council discussed various other proposals, deliberated over some before giving its approval. It approved key amendments in UoG academic calendar 2020-21 in the wake of (Coronavirus) pandemic or COVID-19 playing spoilsport with the academic schedules, research and other related activities planned at universities across the country. The council gave its approval to extend MPhil degree programme duration by one year. Discussing a government proposal on 2 percent quota for minorities, the council said that the UoG had already set up 5 percent quota in admission for minorities. Dr Shabbar Atiq gave the go-ahead to various other proposals put forward by the senior academics. He told the meeting that the varsity had been conducting online classes successfully, adding that admissions were made to the capacity despite delays due to Coronavirus pandemic. The council agreed that migration of students from other universities would be subject to availability of seats, in addition to fulfilment of the prevalent merit policy rules at the varsity. The council threw its full weight behind a government proposal to set up a chair for ‘Shan-e-Rehmatul Lil Alameen’. They also vowed to continue to protect and take care of rights of minorities. The council looked into the proposals put forward by different faculties and board of studies and gave its approval. Pro Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr Muhammad Faheem Malik and Sheikh Tanzeelur Rehman from Higher Education Department, Government of Punjab, participated online. Faculty Deans Dr Muhammad Mushahid Anwar, Dr Fareeshullah Yusufzai, Dr Fauzia Maqsood, Controller Examinations Dr Muhammad Danish, along with directors, chairpersons, and heads of department, directors of sub-campuses, principals of colleges, and chief librarian attended the meeting. Meanwhile, members of transgender community in Gujrat and elsewhere have welcomed the UoG decision that allows them to affirm their identity while applying for admission. They thanked the VC and other council members for their bold step, which, they said, would not only boost their confidence in their abilities but also help shed a false social stigma attached with the transgender people.