In the wake of several sexual harassment complaints from students and teachers against authority figures, Delhi University has asked all colleges to set up an internal complaints committee (ICC) on a priority basis. Two students — one from a North Campus college and another from a college in west Delhi — have filed sexual harassment complaints against their teachers in the past month. Last week, a former guest lecturer of Swami Shraddhanand College filed an FIR against the college acting principal alleging sexual harassment. He denied the charge.
In the first case, the student approached Maurice Nagar police station on Januray 31 and lodged a complaint against the professor. The woman, in her complaint, alleged that the professor would stare at her and often wink during classes. Police said they have booked the teacher.
In the second case, the student filed a complaint with Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi and submitted purported video evidence in a CD. In the third case, police said they have registered an FIR based on the teacher’s complaint.
A letter to the colleges, issued by Proctor Neeti Sehgal on February 8, states: “It has been brought to the notice of this office that the composition of the College Complaints Committee and Gender Sensitisation Committee is not in accordance with the guidelines in many colleges. It is hereby requested to conduct the elections of the committee under the guidelines.”
Universities and colleges are required to follow and implement the UGC Regulations, 2015, on ‘prevention, prohibition and redressal of sexual harassment of women employees and students in higher educational institutions’. As per the order, all colleges will have to publish the final list of candidates for the committee by February 27. Elections to the committee must be held on March 12, and results are to be declared the same day.
The college complaints committee comprises a woman presiding officer, two faculty members, two non-teaching staff, a representative from an NGO and three elected student representatives.
However, sources said colleges that have set up the panel hardly have any student representatives. “More than 70% of colleges face this problem,” a source said. As per UGC regulations, every institute of higher learning must sensitise stakeholders and officials and let them know about their rights.
The university had, in April 2017, asked colleges to constitute the complaints committee as per the regulations.