Internal Complaints Committees missing in many colleges

In institutions where they exist, UGC regulations are not strictly followed


The recent harassment complaint against a Professor of Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) has once again highlighted the need for effective Internal Complaints Committees (ICCs) to tackle complaints of sexual harassment in higher educational institutions.

Enquiries with multiple colleges affiliated to MKU revealed that they were yet to constitute ICCs as mandated by the University Grants Commission (Prevention, prohibition, and redressal of sexual harassment of women employees and students in higher education institutions) Regulations of 2015.

In colleges that have constituted ICCs, questions have been raised about their effective functioning as per UGC regulations as many seemed to be missing student representatives or inadequately publicising the existence of the committee among students and staff members.

This is despite the Registrar’s office of MKU sending a circular on May 10, 2018, asking all affiliated colleges to constitute the committee as per UGC regulations and confirm that they had been formed. It had also asked the colleges to publicise it among students and staff.

Though MKU itself did not have an ICC till early this year, it was formed in May after a scandal involving an Assistant Professor of an affiliated college allegedly attempting to lure students for sexual favours broke out.

Importantly, some of the constituent colleges of MKU themselves are yet to constitute ICCs as per regulations. Acknowledging that ICC had not been constituted this academic year, a senior official from the constituent college in Tirumangalam said that the process was under way.

While the constituent college in Andipatti had constituted the committee, the list showed that student representatives or contact details of members were absent. The UGC regulations demand that three students, who are elected through transparent democratic procedure, must be part of the committee and they must be included in the proceedings, if complaints involved students.

The website of Mannar Thirumalai Naicker College, the only one among the websites of 20 colleges randomly checked by The Hindu to have published the ICC members’ list and contact numbers, also lacked student representatives. S. Nehru, Principal, said that steps had already been initiated to include them.

In MKU College, Madurai, while B. George, Principal (in charge), confirmed the functioning of ICC, few students and faculty members The Hindu spoke to said that they were unaware of its existence.

Registrar V. Chinniah could not be reached for comment on whether the university had ensured compliance by all colleges.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 10:01:12 AM |

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