Three months have passed since the allegations of sexual harassment at Christ (Deemed-to-be) University surfaced on news platforms. Anonymous proctors calling a student “baby” and asking another to lower her camera while writing an online exam left many shocked about the poor state of student safety in one of India’s so-called “prestigious” universities.
Except not everyone was shocked.
An outpour of social media reports and interactions with current and former students of the institution revealed that Christ (Deemed-to-be) University has a history of inappropriate behaviour by staff. It appears to exhibit an incredible preoccupation with morally policing students, threatening them as a “disciplining” tactic, arbitrary punishments and rampant sexism. These grievances existed long before the recent allegations came to light.
Despite outrage against the recent sexual harassment case, we have yet to hear from the institution on their inquiry and the functioning of their Internal Complaints Committee. We have made relentless efforts to contact them through written letters to the Vice-chancellor, emails to their Internal Committee, and social media tactics. We worry for the current students with each new alum report that attests to Christ (Deemed-to-be) University’s vindictive action against vocal students. But the college itself remains unresponsive and doesn’t say anything, and for a good reason. Maintaining silence against opposing voices has been a successful tactic for them to avoid any accountability - for years.
We found an institution with the authority to hold Christ (Deemed-to-be) University accountable, despite the college’s reluctance to address the issue: the University Grants Commission.
For the college to maintain its Deemed-to-be university status and even progress to full university status, the UGC must assess whether it is following all the necessary safety mandates as per the UGC [Institutions Deemed To Be Universities] Regulations, 2019. Therefore, it must ensure student safety and adequate redressal of sexual harassment.
We demand that the UGC:
Send a firm follow-up notice to the college demanding that they submit their post-inquiry report immediately
Ensure that the identified perpetrator(s) is dismissed
Make recommendations for the long-term safety of students and oversee their implementation
We need your help to build public pressure and show UGC that we await their appropriate response. Dr Latha KC, Education Officer at the UGC South-west regional office, has already made a statement against the institution - but we must push for more. We cannot let the case rest without a resolution and allow Christ (Deemed-to-be) University to get away with traumatising its students. Sign the petition now!
Thank you for signing the petition and taking a step towards student safety at Christ University, Bengaluru. Let's keep the pressure going and amplify the cause with like-minded people! Your share can make a difference.