COIMBATORE:Issues like complaints of molestation by research scholars occur because proper procedures are not followed, say academics. If attendance, progress reports, etc, are strictly kept, there will be no room for such complaints, they said, while also calling for good top-level leadership.
“Complaints of harassment or blackmail occur only due to procedural lapses by the administration. Nowadays, there are stringent norms to award PhD degrees. If these are followed, such complaints can be avoided. Both the student and the guide can defend themselves in case of complaints against them,” said C Pichandy, former general secretary of the Association of University Teachers.
Even field work should be carried out only after getting written permission from the guide, he added.
“Professors also should not give room for such complaints. There should be transparency in the research work. The doctoral committee should also not have any bias,” said Pichandy.
‘Strong Action Necessary’
Complaints by research scholars of sexual harassment and demands for money have become very common, said former Vice Chancellor of Anna University E Balagurusamy.
“Moral values among professors have fallen. Students also want to get the PhD easily and are not ready to work hard. Guides take advantage of candidates’ weaknessess and demand money or sexual favours. Many students do not even complain about these harassments,” he added.
“Faculty members who do such things should be given serious punishment. Only then will such incidents end,” he said.
“The main reason for this is the weak leadership [of vice chancellors]. If they are weak, who will listen to the students’ grievances. Faculty members will take advantage of it. If the vice chancellor is strong in ethics and integrity, he or she will take immediate action when such incidents occur and punish the offenders involved. If this is not done, laws and rules will not prevent such incidents in the future,” said Balagurusamy.