Statement by JNU faculty against targeting of complainants of sexual harassment by ICC

We, the undersigned faculty at the Jawaharlal Nehru University express our shock and outrage at the extreme penalties recommended against a doctoral student for bringing a sexual harassment complaint against her teacher.

According to a report in the Indian Express (dated 13 December 2018),  JNU’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) has decided to punish a student for allegedly filing a ‘false’ sexual harassment complaint against a teacher in what it has deemed to be a ‘frivolous’ complaint. While we are not privy to either the details of the complaint or the justification the ICC has for arriving at this conclusion — rather than simply noting the failure to substantiate a complaint— we find the severity of the penalties imposed extremely troubling.

The ICC has recommended that the student be debarred, her degree withheld, and that she can never study or be given employment in JNU in future. Moreover, the student is prohibited from entering the campus for any academic or personal purpose; and has to be escorted by security guards to depose in any enquiry proceedings. Further, she was advised not to travel abroad pending enquiry; nor has her degree been awarded yet, foreclosing her ability to move on to other academic venues. Further, the student’s future career opportunities are thwarted by the recommendation to deny a character certificate or No Objection certificate by the University.

Never have such stringent penalties to our recollection, been imposed in JNU against any perpetrator found guilty of sexual harassment in JNU, let alone against complainants. These outrageous recommendations are disproportionate to any findings of the ICC of a complaint being without merit. Such a finding does not legitimise the withdrawal of a degree, travel ban, or out of bounds order for the complainant. They are also contrary to the law. When an ICC finds a complaint to be manifestly false then it is required by law to establish malicious intent and this too requires the adoption of a fair procedure to the complainant.

To destroy a woman student’s career by simply declaring her to be a liar without following the first principle of feminist due process is totally unacceptable. The adoption of such draconian punishments to women students is clearly meant to serve as a deterrent to all women against filing sexual harassment complaints in future.

This is just one case that has been reported in the media. But there is a larger disturbing background, which is the way in which the ICC has re-opened and re-tried on-going cases of GSCASH. This process has established that the ICC has little understanding of how to approach cases of sexual harassment. Many students have reported feeling intimidated by the manner in which enquiries are conducted. Many students have withdrawn their cases from the ICC due to fear of intimidation and harassment. Others fear that their testimonies of harassment may be treated as false complaints.

Instead of working together with JNU students and teachers to create a gender-just workplace, the administration destroyed the existing GSCASH and has installed in its place a committee that is full of nominated members close to the administration. The ICC is not autonomous nor is it committed to providing fair and just procedure to women.

The undersigned faculty reiterate their strong protest about the dismantling of GSCASH; the current working of the ICC and the increased gender discrimination on campus. The ICC has produced a hostile work environment in JNU. This is unacceptable and has to stop.

Ameet Parameswaran

Archana Prasad

Atul Sood

Avinash Kumar

Ayesha Kidwai

Bishnupriya Dutt

Brahm Prakash

Chirashree Dasgupta

Chitra Harshvardhan

G Arunima

Ira Bhaskar

Janaki Nair

Jayati Ghosh

Kamal Chenoy

Kavita Singh

Kumkum Roy

Lata Singh

Madhu Sahni

Mallarika Sinha Roy

Manidipa Sen

Meenu Bhatnagar

Minati Panda

Moushumi Basu

Navaneetha Mokkil

Nilika Mehrotra

Nivedita Menon

Parnal Chirmuley

Pradip K Datta

Pratiksha Baxi

Rama Baru

Ramila Bisht

Ranjani Mazumdar

Riddhi Shah

Rohit Azad

Shambhavi Prakash

Sucharita Sen

Sucheta Mahajan

Supriya Verma

Urmimala Sarkar

V Sujatha

Veena Hariharan

Vikas Bajpai

Vikas Rawal

Anuradha Chenoy

Mohan Rao

 

 

2 thoughts on “Statement by JNU faculty against targeting of complainants of sexual harassment by ICC”

  1. I express my solidrity with the faculty opposing the unfair treatment meted out to the complainant of sexual harassment. I, however, would like to point out that there is a distinct trend of protecting sexual offenders. I hsve experiences of North eastern hill univetsity, Dibrugarh Univetsity and Gsuhati University. In the case of Dibrugarh deespite our focusing in the media and writing to vsrious authorities the offending Proffessor wss not punished.

  2. Every where, thing is same. In aided Colleges ICC, constituted against all norms, according to the wish of manager harass women and even threaten them. Iam a victim, a senior Professor with two masters degree, PhD, research Guide, Reader. I have been punished with compulsory retirement with retrospective effect for reacting against two male colleagues for making sexully coloured remark. , suffering for 16 months without salary or pension. The accused safe in the shades of the Management. As the result of the misconduct of the Principal in charge, l was taken to hospital directly from the college and was admitted at cardiac Icu, as a consequence l was forced to take leave.
    The ICC is prejudiced, the Presiding Officer, 22 years junior to me gave report against me without my written complaint as per the direction of the manager. From Icu police recorded statement. I went to crime branch and gave full statement before Ajeetha Beegom IPS, including sexully colored remarks . Inspite of all influences of management she helped me to achieve my goal. The case charged, IPC 354A 504 and 34.But the Management offered him a glorious sentoff, my sentoff was multicolored with nasal bleeding, foam bubbling out of my mouth.. like a baby my colleagues carried better say dragged me towards the car, dumped me at the Icu and left for ever, nobody contacted me till this day as their main concern is their job safety. I could have gone elsewhere but l ignored my bright future for my friend ship. But.., though they signed my complaint they were forced to change their statement. The junior Presiding officer got her reward, now she has been given the Charge of Principal. Infact I was the senior Professor with the Ugc qualifications, but management purposely keep unqualified persons to act according to their whims and fancies. I was the Head of the Department when I refused to sign a manupulated mark sheet, they removed me from the position of Hod. I reported the matter to University. University Syndicate recommended disciplinary action against the Principal in charge and the Associate Professor concerned. As the part of revenge management ordered compulsory retirement.
    If a woman react, they know how to hush up their voice . They want to set model to threaten the employees
    Now lam really confused.. all working women are suppressing their silent pangs, for the job safety. Managers know the lessons of exploitation
    But never allow women to risk their dignity
    Rules Ugc, control, University, salary government. But management is given unbridled power to harass women, The minority management can even kill the women
    The delay of a fraction of a second could have taken away my life but fortunately l reached hospital.
    I’m determined to fight against the injustice. Half way only..

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