TW: sexual harassment of students
“It is like unleashing terror on whoever is taking a stand.”
- a source from SN College
Eleven students and five teachers at SN College, Thiruvananthapuram, stood up against assistant professor T Abhilash, accused of sexual harassment.
The college’s apparent verdict? The accused is a “good person”, and the teachers who have taken a stand must face punishment.
SN College’s neglect of students’ allegations
In July 2021, six students from SN College accused T Abhilash of sending them inappropriate messages and sexually harassing them. In August, the women reportedly approached governor Arif Mohammad Khan to resolve the issue as the college authorities did not act on their complaint. Reports say that only after a teacher, Manu Remakanth, took the initiative, students even first came to know of the Internal Complaints Committee mandates under the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace (PoSH) Act.
The students then formally sent a complaint about T Abhilash, hoping that the college would follow protocol. However, the accused claims that he does not know the students and that the teachers supporting them are trying to fulfil a “grudge” against him.
Was the ICC inquiry fair?
The complainants faced intimidation and humiliation, with the students being suspended from campus for 30 days under the charge of filing “frivolous” complaints. But wait - reports suggest that one of the IC members (who has now resigned) was a friend of a teacher who supported T Abhilash. Does this make for a just and unbiased inquiry?
Five teachers who supported the complainants - Manu Remakant, Lakshmi AJ, Remya CR, Lekha NB and Sangeeta Hariaharan - have been suspended or transferred under reportedly false pretences.
This is unacceptable - from delaying action against serious sexual harassment allegations to punishing students and teachers for taking a stand. SN College is neglectful of student safety and ensures that the people concerned about it face negative consequences.
We demand that SN College:
Offer the teachers their positions back.
Adopt transparency in their ICC procedure and explain how they concluded that the evidence against T Abhilash was “fabricated”
Follow the appropriate ICC mandates, particularly about
mandatory ICC awareness workshops and
the external member of the committee not being affiliated with the college in any way.
Issue a formal apology to the students for its inadequate ICC awareness work and a biased external member assessing their complaint.
It takes immense courage for students to raise their voice against a predatory teacher, who holds more power in an institution. The eleven students put their faith in the college to keep them safe, but were dismissed and harmed again in the process. We must support them and their teachers to let SN College know that it cannot make arbitrary decisions. Demand accountability from SN College and help prioritise student safety - sign the petition!
Teachers at Kerala college transferred after supporting sexual harassment survivors - The News Minute
Thank you for taking a stand against SN College's unjust action against teachers and students fighting sexual harassment. We need 10,000 signatures so that our demands are heard loud and clear. Take one extra step and amplify the cause for student safety!
We do a lot of work to advocate for students' safety at higher education institutions. Help us continue taking up more campaigns like this by making a small donation!