Widespread caste discrimination in Madras University, alleges anti-caste group

In a letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, the group detailed multiple instances of caste discrimination by S Gowri, the university’s vice chancellor.
S Gowri Vice Chancellor of Madras University
S Gowri Vice Chancellor of Madras University
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The Madras University’s Vice Chancellor (VC) has failed to appoint temporary teaching staff from reserved categories, the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) has alleged. In a letter to Chief Minister MK Stalin, the group detailed multiple instances of casteist discrimination by S Gowri, the university’s VC. TNUEF complained that despite the university publishing a notification for temporary appointments for the posts of 23 assistant professors reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), Backward Class (BC) and Most Backward Class (MBC), no appointments have been made. The duration of these temporary appointments are for a period of 240 days split into modules of 120 days each. All temporary postings exceeding 45 days are by rule reserved on the basis of caste, the TNUEF pointed out, adding that this rule is being flouted.

The letter also alleged that the Head of Department of Politics and Public Administration, a woman from an SC community, has not been allotted a room despite her appointment over a year ago on July 1, 2021. Pointing out other instances of blatant caste discrimination, the letter said that an associate professor in the Department of Medicinal Biochemistry on Taramani Campus, also from a SC community, “has not received any promotions despite having all the required qualifications.” 

Another such instance of discrimination that the letter described happened to a female teacher at the Hindi Department of the Marina Campus of Madras University. She too is from a SC community and when she had raised complaints of casteist harassment from the Brahmin head of the department, the VC had attempted to transfer her to the Distance Education campus, the letter said. “The transfer was revoked only after the teacher protested but no action has been taken against the head of department.”

The letter calls for the immediate intervention of the state government, adding that though interviews have been conducted for the posts of Registrar, Controller of Examinations, Institute of Distance Education Director, College Development Council head and Director of the University Students Advisor Bureau, no professors from SC communities will be appointed by the vice chancellor. “There are many experienced professors from Scheduled Caste communities against whom caste-based discrimination occurs. They say their merit and potential, no important positions are given to them," the anti-caste group said. 

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