Published: 11th September 2020
Several TISS student groups demand removal of new Registrar for ‘problematic, hateful’ social media posts
Ever since RM Joshi was appointed in late August, students from the Institute have been sharing statements, open letters, sent representations to the administration
Several platforms, batches, departments and student groups from different branches of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) have demanded the removal of the newly appointed Registrar of TISS. According to the students, over a thousand students and alumni have signed a petition demanding the rollback of his appointment as well. The demand for his removal has been attributed to the fact the new Registrar allegedly shared sexist and hateful posts on social media.
Ever since RM Joshi was appointed in late August, students from the Institute have been sharing statements, open letters, sent representations to the administration and stormed all forms of social media seeking for the Registrar’s appointment to be revoked. The Progressive Students’ Forum, TISS wrote an open letter, “Targeting of a particular religious minority, invoking of incendiary labels like ‘jihadi’ and insinuating a link of a particular religion to terrorism. These are blatantly islamaphobic and communal in nature.”The Forum claimed that the Registrar had also vilified a minority community during the COVID pandemic and has also done the same to protesting students. “His understanding is that the failure of the country to produce vaccines is because the person who gets 90 percent is selling pakodas and the person getting 40 percent is experimenting in the lab. This is inherently casteist and goes against the reservation policy mandated by the Constitution, “ the Forum added.
A Muslim student collective on campus also issued a statement on the issue, “The repeated onslaughts on Muslims, whether it be direct or indirect violence has already wounded the community. The appointment of such an openly Islamophobic person to such a powerful position is only adding salt to our wounds. We are apprehensive that his clearly biased views will affect his decision-making capacity and further oppress the students of this community.
The MA students from the Women Studies Department in their statement said his posts ‘clearly point to his ‘Islamophobic, anti-reservation, casteist, sexist ideologies’. “His hasty deletion of his social media posts indicate that he is keen to whitewash his image. Despite criticism, the administration has failed to take any action,” the students said. The students and alumni of the School of Human Ecology also condemned the appointment by saying, “We speak as a school because as mental healthcare professionals, we recognise that mental health is neither individual nor intrapsychic. It is rooted in social systems and we recognise and acknowledge that system oppression causes and worsens mental health conditions. The appointment would most likely create a stifling, majoritarian and fearful environment on campus. Which would affect the student body, particularly marginalised and minority students.”
Another platform called the Tired Feminists’ Collective said, “His social media posts reflect bigotry. His sexist beliefs can have a lasting impact on women, trans and queer community who find the campus to be a safe space and proudly assert their non-conforming identities.”
TISS, Guwahati said that they not only condemn the appointment of the new Registrar but also demand the revocation of his appointment, “Social justice and social inclusion are not just concepts we are supposed to write about in exams but also principals we learnt after joining the institute and have to fight for.” MA in Public Policy and Governance, MA in Women Studies students and BA Social Sciences students from TISS, Hyderabad campus have also issued similar statements and supported the students seeking the registrar’s resignation.
We have reached out to the Registrar for a comment and will update this copy if and when we receive it.