Mumbai: Professor removed from duties before TISS starts probe
With the new semester resuming after the Diwali break, the TISS professor has not been assigned classes and has also been kept off fieldwork assignments, which was primarily his responsibility
Even as the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) is scheduled to start investigating the sexual harassment charges against Prof P Vijayakumar from today, students of the School of Management and Labour Studies are already seeing the result of action initiated against him by the authorities.
With the new semester resuming after the Diwali break, the professor has not been assigned classes and has also been kept off fieldwork assignments, which was primarily his responsibility. More so, students who had chosen him as their research guide have been unofficially informed that they would have to look for someone else. Though the institute has not issued any official statement in this regard, sources revealed that Vijayakumar has been sent on leave until the investigation is completed.
The institute had taken serious cognisance of the matter after former student Preethi Krishnan shared her ordeal through a Facebook post last month. She had alleged that Vijayakumar sexually harassed her while she was pursuing her Masters course between 2004 and 2006. After the institute's internal committee reached out to her, she registered a formal complaint in the matter. Sources said that hearings in the case would be held through video chat, as the complainant is not a Mumbai resident.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a student said, "Many students have been working with him as he was their project guide. They have now been unofficially told to look for another guide. Till last semester, Prof V K was the fieldwork mentor for many of us."
Another student said, "We haven't received any official communication from the administration yet. However, we can already see the changes. When some of the students approached the authorities regarding the status of their research, they were told that they would have to look for other professors as guides. It seems that Prof V K is no longer the chairperson of the Centre for Social and Organisational Leadership, as its administration charge has been given to someone else."
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