COIMBATORE: Teaching faculty members caught involved in harassment cases will lose their headship and MPhil or PhD guideship, as per the new guideline framed to prevent and redress harassment in higher education institutions.
In the backdrop of the sexual favour scandal that came to light at the Madurai Kamaraj University and the subsequent arrest of Assistant Professor Nirmala Devi and a couple of other staff, the Higher Education department formed a two-member committee consisting of University of Madras Vice-Chancellor P Duraisamy and Tamil Nadu Open University Vice-Chancellor M Bhaskaran to come out with a new set of regulations to prevent harassment in higher education institutions.
Higher Education Secretary Sunil Paliwal, in his letter to Registrars of universities, Director of Collegiate Education and Commissioner of Technical Education, said that harassment of persons (students, staffs, faculty) in higher education institutions had increased in recent years. “Instances of people in power and authority taking advantage of their position to exploit the vulnerability of their subordinates and students have come to the notice of the government. The main objective of the guidelines is to create safe campuses for students, staff and faculty to function without fear, threat or anxiety and are meant to ensure highest standards of honesty and integrity from all stakeholders,” he said.
According to the new guideline, every higher education institution shall constitute a committee to deal with complaints relating to harassment. The Vice-Chancellor, Director and Principal of the institutions will constitute the committee, with tenure of one or two academic years. The committee will comprise of the dean or senior professor or senior faculty member as chairperson, two faculty members, one female faculty and one external member with legal background as its members and one SC/ST representative as observer.
The aggrieved person shall make a written complaint with all evidences and file it with the chairperson of the committee directly within two months of occurrence of the incident.
Based on detailed inquiry, the committee will submit a confidential report directly to the head of the institutions within one or two months and the head of the institutions shall act within two months. If the complaint was against the head of the institution, the report shall be submitted to his/her higher authority. Based on the report, the head of the institutions/higher authority shall take appropriate penal action.