Over the last two days, students of the Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication (SCMC) have taken to Twitter and Facebook to share stories of alleged sexual harassment, intimidation and assault on campus.
More than 10 students have shared their experiences directly or anonymously on social media, forcing the institute to take notice and send two open letters to students, appealing them to come forward, and promising to do better.
Vidya Yeravdekar, principal director of Symbiosis Society, and Anupam Siddhartha, director of SCMC Pune, confirmed to The Indian Express that scores of students have written to the institute about their experiences. They said these accounts, as well as stories of sexual harassment, shared by students on social media, would be investigated by the institute. The Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of Symbiosis will hold a meeting on Wednesday where these complaints will be discussed, said Yeravdekar.
While most of the complaints are about students being harassed by other students, in some cases, students have also accused faculty members of inappropriate behaviour.
The students have discussed a “toxic culture” on the campus which, they said, allowed such incidents to occur frequently. In some posts, students have accused director Anupam Siddhartha (mentioning only his initials in most cases) of not taking any action when such complaints were brought to his notice.
Siddhartha, however, denied receiving any official complaint except from one student. He said one student had complained of assault at the beginning of 2018, and was being assisted by the faculty and management. Asked about the allegations of inaction against him, he said that he has been made aware of these via social media.