The teacher resigned on his own, without being forced: the vice-chancellor of Sant Xavier

In the spotlight after a professor at St Xavier’s University said she was “forced” to resign last October following a complaint from a student’s parent over her “objectionable” photos on Instagram , Vice-Chancellor Father Felix Raj said she “resigned of her own accord.”, although the university “could have terminated her because she was on probation.”

“She was on probation. She only served us for two months. She started in August (2021) and tendered her resignation in October. So it’s not about force. There were some developments unpleasant ones of course,” Felix Raj told The Indian Express.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said The Indian Express Last week, a “kangaroo court” was held on October 7 in the presence of vice-chancellor (VC) Felix Raj and registrar Asish Mitra, where she was “intimidated, harassed and taunted with sexually colored comments” and “innuendos objectionable” without any provocation or justification.

Felix Raj said she was complaining now because we had started a process when we received a complaint against her. “According to the nature of the complaint, we had to initiate a procedure. Possibly he did not like the process he went through. But she didn’t express it to us (at that time). Rather, she said to give me a chance to speak to the committee, and she was happy we gave her a chance to explain herself. After two weeks, he did a 360-degree turn (putting on his role), and that’s what I’m not able to understand.”

In his statement that the complaint against her was made with the intention of defaming her image and was not genuine, Felix Raj said the university verified the complaint. “We wanted to establish the complaint and check it with the teacher. We told the teacher that there is a committee (to deal with the complaint). The complaint was of a serious nature, as it concerned the relationship between a student and a teacher. There is no question that it is dubious,” he said.

When asked why the university asked him to resign despite his apology letter, Felix Raj said, “The university never wrote to him asking him to resign. When he submitted his apology letter (on 8 of October), the matter ended. Then we were closed for Durga Puja holidays till 24th October. She also had Covid-19 at that time. On 25th October when we called her she said that my resignation is there with immediate effect. We accepted it. But to make it clear that no one from the university forced it while we were on puja vacation.”

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To another question on why the university should be concerned about a professor’s personal life, he said, “We are not concerned about anyone’s personal life. But it has become public. A parent filed a complaint about that his son did. We received a complaint. If this was a private matter, how does the student view it? If it gives access to students, is it private? The complaint came from outside.”

The woman, however, had said there was no way those photos could still be accessible, as an Instagram story, by default, is only live for 24 hours. “Also, my Instagram profile is ‘private’ and not ‘public’… Those two pictures could not have been seen by the student weeks later,” he had said.

(With input from Ritika Chopra in New Delhi)

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