A professor of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, charged with alleged sexual harassment, has been suspended.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, a student of Agricultural College and Research Institute, affiliated to TNAU, had filed the complaint against the professor. In a letter addressed to the dean of the college, she had alleged sexual harassment over a period of seven months.
The student also alleged that when she first brought the matter to the attention of the girl's hostel's deputy warden, the warden reportedly asked her to comply with the professor's harassment.
The letter from the Office of the Registrar, TNAU, stated that it was ânecessary to place the professor under suspension from service in public interest and prevent him from interfering with the investigation and enquiry being undertaken towards the misconduct said to have committed by him.â
The letter also noted that news reports of the harassment broadcast on television channels were âtarnishing the image of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.â
On April 16 this year, Tamil Nadu woke up to news of an academic scandal of enormous proportions.
Nirmala Devi, an assistant professor of the Devanga Arts College in Virudhunagar district, was heard luring four female students to be party to an âarrangementâ, where their academic and financial needs would be taken care of if they accepted the âopportunity.â
In the nearly 19-minute long conversation, she repeatedly states that higher officials are involved.
The shocking case raised a number of questions, including the existence and efficacy of Internal Complaints Committees (ICC) in colleges and universities.
TNMâs status check on universities in June this year revealed that the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University had constituted an ICC that comprises five members - one Chairman, three internal members and one external member.
The ICCâs current Chairman, who has been on the board for the past three years, said that the Committee had not received any sexual harassment complaints so far.