EFLU Vice-Chancellor Prof E Suresh Kumar on ICC, alleged backdated circulars, FIRs and his tenure

The ICC wrote to the university saying the survivor was not in a position to give specific details about the identity of the assaulters and that the case could be forwarded to the police
VC speaks | (Pic: Express + Sourced)
VC speaks | (Pic: Express + Sourced)

In the aftermath of a student's sexual assault on The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad campus, protesting students launched a hunger strike on November 6 and received support from alumni, activists, students from other universities and more. 

Amid the protests, Vice-Chancellor Prof E Suresh Kumar speaks to EdexLive about the several allegations that students have made including backdating circulars, the constitution of the Internal Complaints Committee, FIRs and his tenure as the vice-chancellor. Excerpts from a conversation:

What is being done for the survivor?
We are conducting online classes for her, female teachers are interacting with her regularly and we are offering every support we can, especially academic. She was also given the option of meeting the counsellor. I have spoken to her brother and sister and they seemed satisfied with the support we were offering. We have extended all possible support. 

Constitution of ICC...
After completing her term as Dean and Head, Prof Anjali V Bagde took over as the Presiding Officer of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) on October 11. 

On October 17, students started alleging that the administration did not form an ICC and that's when we showed them the document about the constitution of the ICC. Since they claimed that they never saw the notice, the registrar asked the officials to upload it on EFLU's official portal. 

The matter dates back to August 2023, when EFLU received communication from the Ministry of Education asking us to constitute ICC in place of the bodies we had in place. Earlier, we had the University Complaints Committee (UCC) and Apex Body of SPARSH (ABS) till October 10. 

When ICC met the survivor 
Upon the request of the survivor, on October 19, only the female members of the ICC met her. The survivor took a print out of her statement, which was available on her mobile, with the help of a lady faculty member. Then she signed on it and handed it over to the ICC. The victim further added that she can’t express anything extra regarding the incident, other than the printed statement

On the allegation of backdating circulars... 
There are several circulars that the university issues. They all go through proper channels before they are released. 

Also, certain circulars are for certain stakeholders alone. 

The ICC notice was for students alone and was circulated internally. Only because students shared that they were not aware of it, the notice was posted on our portal on October 17. 

Conducting student elections...
We also wanted to conduct the process of student elections and complete it by November 18, we did not notify this, but that was the plan. In the wake of the Vidhan Sabha elections in Telangana, we wanted to get clarification from the Chief Electoral Officer thus, we wrote to them to check if we can go ahead with it. But we were informed by the police that it was not advisable due to the Telangana Assembly elections as if any problems emerged, it would be difficult to provide security. 

FIR and show cause notices being seen as an attack against students... 
FIRs have been filed based on facts, us withdrawing the FIRs would mean that we accept that those are not the facts. 

Ready for an open dialogue... 
We are ready to have an open discussion with the students and do what is within our purview

Talk about his tenure...
The term of the VC is a matter that's between the government and the university, students should not be talking about it...

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