Woman student at Presidency College alleges head of history department harassed her
An M. Phil research student of Presidency College has accused a professor of sexual harassment.
The 24-year-old woman student, who is doing a research project at the college, said B. Subramanian, head of the history department, grabbed her arm and pushed her outside his room on Thursday, when she went to enquire about her results.
“Two days ago, I got to know that I had cleared all my subjects. But today, I was informed that I had failed by five marks in one subject. When I asked the Prof. about it, he yelled at me, and then forcibly pushed me out,” said the student, who has registered a case against the professor under the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act at an all-women’s police station on Anna Salai.
According to the student, the professor has been giving her a hard time ever since she applied for her M.Phil. “He uses double entendres and makes demeaning references. Many students have faced this but have not come out in the open,” she said.
The student said she had complained about the professor on several earlier occasions to college authorities, but no action had been taken. So this time, she had decided to take the case to the police.
Several other students at the college said this was not the first time the professor has been accused of harassment. “A few months ago, another female PhD student complained that the professor was not giving her a date for her viva. She had stayed in college for an entire day with her one-year-old baby, waiting for a date. Even though she had complained, no action was taken against him,” said a student. who had accompanied the complainant.
Faculty at the college said this was an unfortunate event. “The student could have waited for a third evaluation if she was not happy with her results. The professor is not very popular among students, but is not a man of bad character. Should every teacher now think twice before failing a female student?” a senior professor asked.
Negotiations between college authorities and the student had taken place, after which she registered the police complaint. “Even the police said I was not thinking about my futureThe student however said,“The college authorities said they would transfer or suspend him, or even increase my marks, but I want him to be punished.”
College authorities said they were waiting for the police’s investigation to begin. Principal R. Sabanayagam said, “On Monday, we will appoint a committee comprising women to enquire into the case after which we will decide on a course of action.”
Police said the accused professor was absconding and that a hunt has been launched to find and apprehend him.