In the midst of the #Metoo campaign, a private college has come up in the news for having a faculty member who sexually harassed not one but many female students with his scrutinising gaze towards their private parts. According to the news, the assistant professor has been reprimanded by the institution. However, there is more to the issue than what meets the eye.
The students have criticised the procedure followed by the institution for processing and solving complaints, for a long time now. This is mainly because it always seems like an attempt to cover up facts rather than to address the issue at hand. This trait of the institution comes into the light with the current scenario.
The facts are as follows: A student had emailed a few people in-charge in the institution regarding the complaint she had filed against the assistant professor to inform them of the result of the same. She wanted to inform the other aggrieved students about the result of her complaint as well.
She was in hope for a change and for her voice to be heard, but what she got was the very opposite. Not only was the meeting to discuss the matter very sinister not only because they asked the students not to take their phones along, but they also demanded that they sign an undertaking to take down the posts they had put up on Facebook regarding the matter. I have gone through the posts she has put up even those unrelated to the present issue. Some I cannot agree to because they are short and vague, while others seem to have evidence to support her claim.
Concerning this undertaking, she along with the other students were pressurised to take down the posts, and unlike them. In case they didn’t do that, they were threatened that they would never be able to complete their courses nor will they ever be placed anywhere. They were guaranteed that if they didn’t act according to how the institution wanted things to function, their futures would be destroyed.
The student who had put up the posts and made the complaint was evicted from the hostel without any official order, and she was asked to leave within the next day before she was forced out. The students who had liked her post were also suspended. They issued these on the grounds of defaming the institution on electronic devices. Students who tried to meet up and discuss the injustice of the matter were warned that strict action will be taken against them in case they gathered for the same. The suspension and eviction in itself were arbitrary and was issued a day before the exams began.
According to our Constitution, Article 19 gives us the right to free speech and expression. But the very institutions that impart knowledge to let us grow as individuals and become the working citizens of our society, also try to hammer into our heads at a very early age that at the end of the day, we are truly powerless. If we raise our voices to point out what is violating our rights, as long as it affects these powerful people out there, they will try to suppress our voice to the extent where we can’t raise it again.
They don’t care about our rights nor do they have the humanity and humility to accept their mistakes and change – like any decent human being who knows that they can make mistakes once in a while would. And when the very foundation of our society, the educational institutes are arbitrary like this – appearing perfect on the outside, what could be said about the other spheres of society that are based upon this foundation? I urge you to think about it.
The pictures below is a post put up by the student who was evicted. These are her thoughts and her grievances: