Ahmedabad-based MICA, the country’s premier strategic marketing and communication institution, has initiated an inquiry against an associate professor following allegations of sexual assault against him. The allegation was posted on Facebook on Monday as part of the #MeToo campaign.
In the post, the woman, who worked with accused professor Pravin Mishra’s father-in-law, alleged that she was assaulted at the MICA teacher’s residence.
Mishra has been placed under suspension until completion of the inquiry. Responding to a text message, Mishra stated, “I am not informed about any assault complaint against me so I have no response.”
When contacted, the complainant requested anonymity. Confirming that an investigation was put in place on Tuesday taking “very serious note” as part of the institute’s “zero tolerance to such complaints”, MICA’s dean Preeti Shroff told The Indian Express: “The inquiry has been initiated on the basis of the Facebook post but a comprehensive investigation will be conducted looking into all aspects, taking into account any and all kinds of information. Apart from the existing GEASH (Gender Equality and Anti-Sexual Harassment) committee at MICA, a committee has been set up of three senior women faculty members for the inquiry.”
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Shroff said the committee has been asked to complete the probe at the earliest. “As per rules, he cannot continue teaching until the inquiry is complete,” she said.
MICA spokesperson Vaneet Chhibber said MICA has “no locus standi in the case”.
He said, “First, the incident quoted in the Facebook post… did not happen on campus. Second, the person alleging assault is not connected to MICA in any way. It is only an internal inquiry. The aggrieved person needs to approach the authorities, which she has not done so far.
“So we do not have any locus standi in the case other than the fact that Pravin Mishra is a MICA faculty.”
Chhibber added that Mishra is on a “sabbatical of three months” since the beginning of October, undertaking a programme.
Faculty members do not stay on MICA campus.
Mishra is director of Crafting Creative Communication (CCC), a one-year programme for copywriters, content creators, art directors and filmmakers at the institute.
Mishra’s profile on MICA’s website as the ‘Core faculty’ states that he has “over 15 years of experience in the creative communication industry, has been a faculty member at MICA since January 1, 2012. Mishra is presently pursuing his PhD (in Design) from National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.”