Mumbai: Female students of Bandra's Rizvi college accuse professors for creepy texts

Sep 08, 2018, 14:00 IST | Pallavi Smart

After student alleges that the professor sends her creepy texts late in the night, others say they too have been at receiving the end of barbs on physical attributes and personal habits

Mumbai: Female students of Bandra's Rizvi college accuse professors for creepy texts

A cloud of gloom has descended on Bandra's Rizvi College of Architecture. Nearly 300 students, sporting black attire, have filed as many complaints against two faculty members of the elite institute for unprofessional conduct and passing personal remarks on students. One female student has even lodged a complaint with the Mumbai University Women's Development Cell alleging that a faculty member has been texting her at inappropriate hours.

Nearly 300 complaints have been filed against two faculty members of allegedly being involved in favouritism, keeping grudges while evaluating students and passing inappropriate comments on the physical attributes and personal habits of students. The institute has formed a committee to inquire in the complaints and the report is yet awaited.

Students from second, third and fourth year of the course are protesting on campus by wearing black attire and have even put up posters on the notice board. The complaints against two faculty members, Mohin Merchant and Ejaz Kashmiri, of misappropriate conduct on campus.

One of the posters that the students have put up at the college
One of the posters that the students have put up at the college

Personal comments
While administration is dealing with hundreds of complaints, one case in point is that of a female student who has alleged that the faculty had been sending her inappropriate text messages and at unearthly hours.

"It started around two years back when professor Mohin Merchant, who was not even teaching any subject to me, had appeared on the jury for one of my projects. He would always ask me personal questions about my life, and who I would hang out with outside campus, etc. Once he commented that I was wearing inappropriate clothes. There was no need for him to call me alone to his cabin in the evening just to tell me this," said the student.

She added, "I approached the then vice-principal Ejaz Kashmiri, who did not do much about my complaint. However, after that Prof. Merchant started calling me Behna (sister) and would send me messages such as 'Kya kar rahi hai tu behna?' 'Behna you don't love me at all.'

The student shared some of the messages that her faculty sent her
The student shared some of the messages that her faculty sent her

Texting at odd hours
The student added that these messages were received at odd hours such as 11 pm or 6 am. "I gave a written complaint to the authorities and their most important question was why I did not speak for the last two years. And it was all brushed off stating he has called me 'sister'. There has been no action taken," shared the frustrated student.

After she spoke up, several other girls mentioned similar experiences with the professors. Most of the complaints were about passing comments on the attire of students.

After all their efforts to elicit action against the professors failed, students have now put up posters in protest
After all their efforts to elicit action against the professors failed, students have now put up posters in protest

Another student added, "The institute has formed a committee but it all seems like an eyewash. The committee met with all the complainants but so far neither has any action been taken nor the report submitted." With the exams approaching, students now fear that the same professors will assess their papers and may hold grudges against them.

College says
Dr Shruti Barve, in-charge principal of the college, said, "The college management has formed a committee to enquire and to resolve the issue. It is the college's internal matter and everything is under control. There is no tense atmosphere in college." When mid-day approached professor Kashmiri for his version, he refused to comment, while professor Merchant did not respond.

WDC says
Gita Chadha, chairperson of the Women Development Cell at the Mumbai University, said, "As per the Sexual Harassment Act of 2013 and the UGC Guidelines of 2015, the University has directed all colleges to form their Internal Complaint Committee to address complaints of sexual harassment. At the moment, grievances against these can be brought to the notice of the Executive Authority of the University. The complainant also has the right to go to court. The University is in the process of forming an Ordinance that explicitly states these mechanisms.

Allegations
* Faculties indulge in favouritism
* Hold grudges while evaluating papers
* Pass inappropriate comments on students' attire
* Pass comments on the physical attributes of students

Also Read: Mumbai Crime: 20-Year-Old Man Acquitted In Case Of Sexually Harassing Teenaged Sister

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