Ac­cused TISS prof sent on in­def­i­nite leave

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTMETRO - Shreya Bhandary

MUM­BAI: Al­most 10 days af­ter the Tata In­sti­tute of So­cial Sciences (TISS) re­ceived an official com­plaint by a for­mer stu­dent, ac­cus­ing a se­nior pro­fes­sor of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing her, the ac­cused has been asked to go on in­def­i­nite leave. The in­sti­tute’s in­ter­nal com­plaints com­mit­tee (ICC), which deals with mat­ters of sex­ual ha­rass­ment on cam­pus, is cur­rently con­duct­ing an in­quiry into the ex-stu­dent’s al­le­ga­tions.

“The minute we re­ceived a writ­ten com­plaint from the vic­tim, we put to­gether an in­quiry com­mit­tee to look into this mat­ter. The pro­fes­sor, who is any­way on leave at present, has been asked to stay off the cam­pus un­til the in­quiry is com­plete,” said an official from the in­sti­tute.

In a let­ter ad­dressed to the TISS di­rec­tor, the ac­cused pro­fes­sor has also as­sured the in­sti­tute of his full co­op­er­a­tion with any in­quiry ini­ti­ated by the in­sti­tute.

The in­ci­dent first came to light on Oc­to­ber 27, when the sur­vivor up­loaded a post on a so­cial me­dia web­site, nar­rat­ing var­i­ous in­ci­dents that oc­curred be­tween 2004 and 2006, when she was pur­su­ing her Masters in Arts (MA) at TISS. In her post, the stu­dent re­vealed that she and the ac­cused, a se­nior pro­fes­sor and a re­search guide, shared a pro­fes­sional re­la­tion­ship dur­ing the two-year pe­riod, but he ‘abused’ her to­wards the end of the course.

“Be­sides at­tend­ing his classes, I in­ter­acted closely with him as I helped him or­gan­ise a speaker se­ries... The nor­mal­ity of the re­la­tion­ship made it all the more dif­fi­cult when things changed over the last two or three months at TISS af­ter I opted to sub­mit a the­sis un­der his su­per­vi­sion,” read her post, which fur­ther states how the pro­fes­sor had tried to kiss her and also asked her to sit on her lap.

Stu­dents from the in­sti­tute said they are happy with the in­sti­tute’s de­ci­sion.

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