The professor claims that the students are exaggerating

NLS students protest wearing shorts after senior professor chides girl for her clothes
news Friday, April 08, 2016 - 11:44

NLS class turns up in shorts after prof targets student with ‘dress properly’ comments 

Students of Bengaluru’s National Law School of India University turned up in shorts two days after a professor targeted a student with sexually coloured remarks about her clothes. The professor shamed the student publicly for wearing shorts to class.

According to Legally India, NLSIU Bangalore professor V Nagaraj on Monday picked on a third-year LLB student for wearing shorts to his lecture and went on to make sexually coloured remarks when she objected to his censure of her attire.

In protest, the students all turned up for class dressed in a pair of shorts. They are demanding an apology from the professor who has denied any wrong doing and said that he expected students to follow decorum when it came to attire.

The students emailed a “statement of condemnation” to the vice chancellor, faculty members, exam department and all law students. Portions of the statement have been reproduced below:

“As many students of the III year batch of B.A., LL.B. (Hons.), NLSIU, we issue this statement strongly condemning the extremely shameful incident in which a Professor has made inappropriate remarks to a III year student in our presence.

We are extremely aggrieved about the fact that:

a. The Professor publicly shamed the student for the clothes she chose to wear, and

b. The Professor cast aspersions on the students character for voicing her concerns.

The incident under protest is as follows:

The student in question, like various other students, had worn shorts to class. On noticing the shorts, the said Professor chastised the student before the entire class by asking her to “dress properly.” The student was deeply uncomfortable with the remark, as were many of us, since we do not think it is correct for a teacher to impose his/her notions about appropriate clothing upon the students. The student in question, who was scolded by the said Professor, thought it necessary to further discuss the matter with him and not to overlook it as another instance of moral policing. Upon approaching the teacher and raising objections regarding his statement, the student, to our dismay, was again rebuked by the Professor and was exposed to a plethora of untoward comments.

In the presence of many of us, the Professor went to the extent of drawing an extremely distasteful analogy as to why the student should not wear shorts and said, “We all know why parents marry their children off - so that they can have sex. Just because the parents marry off their children for this reason, it does not mean that the children have sex in front of their parents.”

Needless to add, we were all stunned into silence on hearing a distinguished member of the faculty make such a crude comment. The student was appalled at this reasoning and respectfully objected to the same. The Professor then proceeded to cast aspersions on the character of the student. He denounced her credibility entirely and went on to state,“You can come to class without a dress also. That is how your character is, I’m going to ignore you.”

This incident left the student in an uncomfortable position with her character being called into question by the said Professor because she attempted to question his method of public censure. As a consequence of this incident, the student has been extremely aggreived and has asked the Vice-Chancellor to look into the matter and we hope that action will be taken by him against the said Professor.

We find such behaviour extremely unacceptable, especially coming from a Professor, who students are expected to consider as a role model. NLS has taught us to value discourse above everything else and to be tolerant of individual choices. The behaviour highlighted above goes against the spirit of this institution. Therefore, we believe it is imperative that such aberrant actions be denounced by the University as a whole with immediate effect. We also demand that a public apology be issued by the teacher in question to the concerned student and the institution as a whole.

In solidarity with the concerned student, and as a mark of protest against the Professor, we choose to exercise our right to personal expression and comfort by wearing shorts to the class of the concerned Professor. However, we would like to clarify that this statement is not merely against moral policing, but also, in particular, against the derogatory remarks made by the Professor.”

Legally India quoted Nagaraj as saying that the students were exaggerating.

“Nothing like [what is described in the statement] happened. Students are making false and baseless allegations. It is for the university authorities to examine this incident. This is the first time that students have made such a statement [whereas] I have been teaching for 27 years,” he said.

He said that he had informed the vice chancellor and the registrar by email when the incident occurred on Monday, and added that since then had “become a free for all”.

He admitted that the university had no dress code for students and has asked the administration to issue a clarification regarding the same, with a special consideration to “certain decorum” that is expected from students.

NLSIU vice chancellor Prof Venkat Rao was not reachable for comment by phone at the time of writing.

NLSIU sexual harassment committee’s former in-charge, Prof VS Elizabeth condemned the issue saying that the faculty members should think before casting such aspersions on people’s character as the amount of clothing is not proportional the person’s morality, reported Legally India

 

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