EFLU denies allegations by students on SPARSH committee

The management says a few disgruntled persons used news articles on the panel to spread rumours, provoke students against the varsity.
Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.

HYDERABAD: Responding to the students’ allegations and media reports, the English and Foreign Language University (EFLU) on Tuesday released a statement stating the varsity had a University Complaints Committee (UCC) and Apex Body of SPARSH (ABS) till October 10. They added that the bodies were replaced by the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) the next day.

It noted that the SPARSH committee organised a one-day session recently during which senior faculty members from Osmania University and the University of Hyderabad interacted with the students on the issue of sexual harassment.

‘Varsity extended all possible support’
Two days after the protest demanding reconstitution of SPARSH by the students which took place on October 16, a girl was sexually assaulted by two unidentified people on the campus. The administration has said that the varsity made all possible efforts to nab the culprits and respond immediately by actively extending all possible support to the affected student.

Replying to the claim that the ICC report was invalid as there was no student representation, it said that it had assured the nomination of the three student representatives, as stipulated by the University Grants Commission, in its orders. The student contestants to be elected to the ICC will be empanelled after winning the elections. 

Similarly, the statement added that the university management didn’t issue a backdated circular about the establishment of an ICC committee. It was ‘half-baked news stories’ that were the result of two faulty office communications, it mentioned. 

“On October 17, when a group of students on agitation met the university officials demanding for the (establishment of) SPARSH, the students were explained that the SPARSH committee was replaced by an ICC, vide orders on October 11. The university officials understood the concern of the students and decided to upload the ICC orders to the university website on October 17, immediately after the clarification was given to the students at 9.30 pm,” the statement said.

Despite the UCC being in place, no complaints have been received against any faculty members, it clarified, adding that the students alleging harassment by lecturers should file official complaints so that the university can initiate action after conducting an inquiry.

The management, in the statement, said that several disgruntled elements were waiting for an opportunity to tarnish the image of the university and its administration. “The news stories published have given credence to the misleading facts, providing a fresh opportunity for these elements to escalate their attack by provoking the students and spreading rumours,” it added.

Students resume protest
The students resumed their protest on Tuesday. They alleged that university officials were observed using cameras to film them during the protests. A student said the surveillance was intended to identify individuals for potential future targeting.

In a statement urging students to participate in the protest to ensure their safety and their right to exist on campus, the students expressed their concerns about the university’s actions following the assault.  “Instead of securing unprotected areas on the campus, the administration has added floodlights and CCTV cameras in community spaces and added a gate in the middle of the road to Gate 3,” the statement by students said.

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The New Indian Express