Published: 19th April 2018
Moral policed to the max: IIT Madras staff takes picture of students hugging on campus
While the phone was confiscated by the administration, the victim is upset because the authorities claimed that they can't do anything to control others actions
The IITs and IIMs in the country have always been known for their liberal campuses, however, that perception might change soon. A clerical staff member of IIT Madras took videos and pictures of a woman student hugging her friend on campus and threatened to complain about her "immoral" actions. The irate student caused a furore and in the end, a complaint has been registered with the police.
According to a Facebook post by some students from IIT Madras, a clerical staff in one of the engineering departments clicked photos of an undergraduate student without her consent. The student, who hugged her male friend in a "fully open and public space on campus", was spotted by the staff in question and he decided to threaten action against her with the photos as proof. The staff allegedly said he had done it to "teach" her a lesson. When she protested and demanded that he delete the photos, the clerk had apparently said that there had been instances in the past when he had threatened other students in a similar manner.
The post goes on to explain that the student then filed a complaint with the Chief Security Officer, following which the employee was summoned and his phone was confiscated. The student was then allegedly advised to file a complaint with the police for further action in case the photos or videos had been shared online or privately.
While the students appreciated the immediate action, they were disappointed when they approached the Dean of Students (DOST) to take administrative action against the employee. Since the staff had mentioned that he had done this on previous occasions to threaten other students, the students felt it would be best to inform higher authority who could ensure that it did not happen again.
But the students were informed that the administration cannot control other's actions - "There were no assurances, either on further justice in the incident nor any action on preventing similar incidents in the future. Further, his advice was to the victim was to go home, concentrate on her studies and not let the incident affect her anymore" the post said.
In the post, the students questioned the institute's alleged disregard for a student's right to privacy and her safety, "Why does this institute of excellence permit the patriarchal and misogynistic attitude of putting a woman in her place and teaching her a ‘lesson’ go unchecked? While students are held accountable for their actions, who is to be held responsible for the misbehavior of staff with students?"
An IIT Madras official confirmed the incident and told Edexlive, "A complaint has been registered with the police and we are cooperating with them fully to take necessary action in this matter." She added that they would take action against the staff member depending on what the police told them. The student in question did not want to be named nor was she in the frame of mind to speak about this at this point in time.