Jadavpur University Wednesday suspended the son of a professor of English department, a day after 13 students accused him of sexual harassment. The JU also formed a fact finding committee to investigate into the charges.
The move came after the Arts Faculty Student’s Union (AFSU) held a general body meeting on the issue and came up with three demands with which they met Vice-Chancellor Suranjan Das. The demands included the suspension of the accused for the duration of the probe, presence of an elected student representative in the probe committee, and the accused’s parent should not take over as the head of the English department.
Students added that the V-C agreed to the first two demands and the accused will remain suspended for the duration of the probe, likely to last a week, effective from Thursday. On the demand that the accused’s parent should not take over as the HoD of the English gepartment, the AFSU said, “V-C has said that he will speak to the professor on Thursday in his official capacity to not assume the headship.”
“We have received the allegations. We are proceeding as per law, which requires the formation of a fact finding committee. We have consulted legal experts and the fact-finding committee will check the veracity of these allegations, following which appropriate legal action will be taken,” the V-C said.
Thirteen girls had lodged a complaint against the JU professor’s son accusing him of sexually harassing them. This, after an undergraduate student — one among the 13 — took to Facebook to make a similar complaint. The girl has alleged that she had first lodged a complaint with university authorities against the accused in August 2015, for making unwanted sexual advances through lewd text and online messages.
In her Facebook post on sexual harassment, she also claimed to be repeatedly bullied by the accused’s friend — a student of English at Presidency University — after she lodged the complaint. In the post, which has gone viral, the girl claimed the friend, who is a woman, would turn up with the accused and harass her in public. She added that she initially feared lodging a complaint against the accused, since he was the son of an “influential” JU professor.
Soon after, other students started claiming that they too had been harassed, blackmailed and molested by the accused.