Xavier’s VC on professor resignation row: “A professor is supposed to be a mentor…he should vibrate the principles of the university”

Deny the allegations about force a teacher to resign About the swimsuit photos she posted on Instagram, Father Felix Raj, the vice-chancellor of the University of St. Xavier of Calcutta told the Indian Express that the university could have “fired” the professor while she was on probation, but not to “protect her career”. .

The teacher, who wanted to remain anonymous, said a “kangaroo court” was held with the administration on October 7 last year where she was “intimidated, harassed and taunted with sexually charged comments”. Raj denied this and said the teacher agreed to give the students access to her Instagram and apologized for it to the commission of inquiry.

Excerpts:

A former teacher has alleged that the university forced her to resign over her Instagram photos…

Saint Xavier he didn’t force anyone to resign. When someone is on probation, if the university is not satisfied, either party can give notice and end the relationship. The teacher in question was on probation and had only been there for two months (at Sant Xavier). If the institution had wanted to, it could have terminated its services. But as a Jesuit institution, we always look out for our teachers and students. We wanted to protect his career.

When a complaint arrived, a commission was formed to study it. But things turned out to be quite the opposite. The teacher admitted that she had given students access to her Instagram profile, her private space.

The other thing we wanted to establish was whether the pictures they sent us were really theirs. She said yes to that too. When the photos were uploaded is not our concern. We had to check if the content of the complaint was correct. He even apologized for the same on 8th October (2021) and then we closed for puja (Durga) holidays.

There is no question of any contact with her during the holidays. We opened again on the 25th and she sent in her letter of resignation. I accepted his resignation. This cannot be interpreted as forcing someone to resign.

The teacher has alleged that the complaint against her was not genuine, but was presented with the intention of defaming her. Did the university attempt to verify the identity of the complainant?

We have verified the complaint. There was correspondence between the complainant and us. There is no doubt that it is doubtful. We did not go to the person’s home to check, but we tried to verify the content of the complaint.

The teacher accepted that she had given the students access to her Instagram profile. If he had said otherwise, that these were not his photos, we might have taken a different course of action.

The teacher says she was shamed by committee members at a “kangaroo court” held on October 7 last year…

I don’t want to comment on the photos. We have not shown the photographs to anyone. He had filed a police complaint. When the police came to inquire about this case, we didn’t even share photos with them. She was our teacher, we have to protect her. We have not shown the photos to anyone, unless necessary..

But he says he was grilled and shamed for what he was wearing…

I don’t think that ever happened. He didn’t tell me in his apology letter. He should have told me openly then. When he met me, he told me that we had given him a chance, that he made a mistake and that he will now check his social networks.

The teacher said the images were shared in June 2021, before she joined the university. Does this affect your current position?

How does it matter if he posted it a year ago or ten years ago, if those posts are available on his Instagram and he gave his students access to those photos. The very fact that the teacher gives access to what she considers private… isn’t that wrong?

Will a parent appreciate the teacher giving their students access to their Instagram where they post their pictures? What I mean is that when the committee asked him (about the photographs), he agreed that he posted them and gave access to the students and apologized.

Should a teacher be asked to apologize for posts on a private account?

When a complaint came in, it said “my child is befriending a teacher.” We always promote a healthy relationship between teachers and students. Keep your private life private. Giving students access is a mistake. It is not expected in an institution like ours. Any educational institution will not appreciate it.

Has the teacher violated any particular rule of the institution?

We are not a company that has a strict code of conduct. A teacher is a teacher and is supposed to be a mentor. We know that teachers should behave as role models. In a holy institution, we must be holy. It is necessary to vibrate the decent image of the institution.. vibrate the principles of the institutions.

We have a code of conduct but we don’t enforce it. We tell them to be a role model for our students.

How do you respond to criticism of moral policing and misogyny?

They are critics on social networks. St Xavier’s is a brand and everyone on social media wants to attack us. Will social media be a judge?

We were not inhumane to her. We were nice to her. She used to be one of our students and now our teacher.

But the institution sent him a defamation notice…

It was not a defamation notice. He sent us a notice and our lawyer sent him a reply. Our lawyer said that to “defame the university, you are obliged to pay such and such”. This was.

Now, suddenly, it has gone to the press. Can I go to the press? Can I wash dirty clothes in public? We would like him to progress in life. We have nothing against her. During the trial, we could have terminated his service, but then his progress would have been difficult.

What is the university’s position now that the professor has decided to move the court against it?

Now she says it. I don’t know (if he really did). Why did it go to the press? I do not get it. We have done no injustice to anyone. We didn’t get harassed or anything.

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