Ravenshaw authorities to form gender-specific panel

Cuttack: In the wake of allegations of sexual harassment to students and teachers, authorities of Ravenshaw University have decided to form a gender-specific committee to look into the charges and sensitise students and faculty for averting any such incident.

The committee 'Gender Sensitisation against Sexual Harassment' will start functioning in the first week of January when the varsity opens after winter vacation, University Vice-Chancellor Prof B C Tripathy said.

The committee will have powers to punish the guilty and ensure that the students and teachers are properly sensitised towards the gender-specific problems by way of conducting seminars, symposiums and group discussions in which subject experts from outside shall be roped in.

"The panel would be headed by a woman of repute as Chairperson and will have two teachers (one male and one female) and two students (one boy and one girl) as its members," the VC said, adding the committee would have sweeping powers to punish the accused found guilty in eve teasing or any form of sexual harassment.

Prof Tripathy further indicated that the victims, both boys and girls and even male and female teachers can bring any form of complaints of sexual harassment to the notice of the Committee for justice.

The identities of the complainant(s) and the accused(s) shall be kept secret by the Committee until the veracity of the complaint is verified and the guilty is identified, the vice-chancellor said.

Students, particularly the girl students of the university have welcomed formation of such a committee which would have women members to look into the charges of sexual harassment. Girls would feel comfortable to bring the allegations of any form of sexual harassment to the committee that would have women members in it and also to be headed by a woman, said Pushpanjali Satapathy, a journalism student of the University.

It may be mentioned here that more than 90 per cent of students unrest taking place in Ravenshaw campus is triggered from cases like eve teasing or gender-related harassment.

The university was once contemplating to have 'women's corridor' aimed to have all the ladies' hostels in one part of the campus.

The Vice-Chancellor said some boys also face harassment like bullying and discrimination inside the campus and the committee shall look into such complaints. Boys can also bring to notice of the panel charges of any form of harassment, including sexual, he said.