Formed after Ph.D. students of School of International Studies complained of mental harassment by their mentors

A grievance committee will be formed to look into complaints of harassment by Ph.D. mentors in Jawaharlal Nehru University’s School of International Studies.

This decision was taken on Tuesday after a meeting of deans, faculty and students of the School of International Studies following complaints of mental harassment, which was reported by The Hindu last week. “We were very clear that we did not want this committee at the level of the centre as many centres of the School are quite small and it is easy to be victimised there,” said a student who was a victim of mental harassment.

Their complaints ranged from mentors asking students to fetch tea to refusing to sign their fellowship forms on time. Regular meetings to discuss issues were also conducted, but the students said the meeting could have gone better.

“There were about 25 teachers there and many of them were going on and on about the glorious legacy of the school, how democratic and informal they are and how nice they are to students. We had to explain to them that we were not there to talk about the past or about the good faculty or their student days, but about our specific complaints, which had to do with that faculty who aren’t so good,” said another student. He also said that despite going from classroom to classroom and asking their friends to come forward with complaints of mental harassment, they refused to do so.

“Some of them have worked hard for their Ph.D.s and many of them are nearing completion. They don’t want to get into trouble so they would rather put up with everything… they are quite helpless unlike what the faculty would like to say,” he said. Finally, the faculty did concede that there were some bad eggs among them, but this was an “aberration”.

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