Published: 29th September 2021
Implement reservations in faculty recruitments, MP Thamizhachi tells IITM Director after Vipin Veetil incident
Of the 596 faculty members employed in IIT Madras in May 2021, 515 of them belong to the unreserved category and 62 are from the OBC category
South Chennai MP Dr Thamizhachi Thangapandian and Velachery MLA JMH Aassan Maulaana met Dr Bhaskar Ramamurthi, IIT Madras' Director, on Wednesday, seeking a fair process and active intervention for the redressal of grievances experienced by SC/ST/OBC members in the institute. The former had also submitted a letter to Ramamurthi in this regard, asking him about the measures that IITM has taken to address the lack of representation among faculty members.
In her letter, Thangapandian says that the issue was brought to her by Dr Vipin Veetil, a faculty member of the institute who had previously resigned owing to caste discrimination. Veetil has since rejoined the institute. "I wish to bring to your notice a serious issue that has come to notice through various official reports as well as grievances from affected individuals. Caste-based discrimination against oppressed communities in universities is highly concerning. This has been noticed recently when Dr Vipin V Veetil raised caste-based discrimination against him at IIT Madras," reads the letter, which also says that only 14 per cent of the faculty members are from SC/ST and OBC communities.
Dr Vipin Veetil
Of the 596 faculty members employed in IIT Madras in May 2021, 515 of them belong to the unreserved category and 62 are from the OBC category. The institute has 16 SC and 3 ST faculty members. This data was released by the institute while responding to an RTI.
Prior to this, Veetil had submitted a petition to Thangapandian, criticising the lack of representation and seeking proper implementation of reservation. "The inequities in the representation of different castes among the faculty and the governing bodies of IIT Madras is merely a reflection of the entrenched forces of discrimination, which not only prevent our entry into the institute but harasses and humiliate us if we succeed in breaking through the barriers. Naturally, such a toxic work environment is far from conducive in the pursuit of science," Veetil's petition reads. He also says that there are "nearly 250 missing faculty members from our communities."
"The administration of IIT Madras claims that the seats reserved for SC, ST and OBC communities have not been filled because of the paucity of sufficiently meritorious candidates. What they forgot to say is that there is no objective measure of merit in faculty recruitment. There are numerous avenues for ‘judgement’ in faculty recruitment, these include the tailoring of advertisements, the shortlisting of candidates and the personal interview," reads his letter. While Veetil expressed gratitude to the MP and the MLA for taking the issue forward, he also said that he was not allowed to be part of the same meeting.