A circular issued by the University of Madras said the “university has banned sexual harassment in any form” inside the university campus.
“The University campus is a place of knowledge and no act of sexual harassment of any sort would be permitted inside the campus,” said a circular issued by the registrar of the University of Madras, stating that faculty members are not permitted to call students to their homes.
“It is informed that no faculty member shall call the student to his or her home and it is declared that such an act by the faculty members amounts to misconduct as per the law on sexual harassment. Students are directed not to stay at the faculty members’s house or court with their guides at any cost unless special permission is taken from the university authorities,” said the circular, reminding the campus community that any act of sexual harassment “will be dealt with an iron fist”.
Professors and some students said there was strong discontent about the circular. A senior professor holding a key position in the university said what is needed is a system that prevents harassment. “We didn’t have a single case of sexual harassment in the recent past. One who read the UGC manual on how to deal with sexual harassment cases in academic institutions will not come out with such a circular. What we needed is a transparent system that ensures immediate action on complaints,” the professor said. Another faculty member told The Sunday Express that the circular demonises the student-teacher relationship.
A senior faculty known to the university’s internal complaints committee said there was nothing wrong in reminding that the university will have zero tolerance towards sexual harassment.