Tamil asst prof who filed harassment plaint axed

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Tamil asst prof who filed harassment plaint axed

Saturday, 30 January 2016 | Kumar Chellappan | CHENNAI

A celebrated Tamil novelist, who was also an assistant professor, has been thrown out of the elite 88-year-old loyola College in Chennai for complaining to authorities about the sexual harassment she had to face from her superiors.

Josephine Jayashanthi, winner of the prestigious Rangammal Prize in Tamil Nadu for her path-breaking novel Sangavai, was dismissed from the college for her “audacity” to stand-up to the sexual advances made by the college higher-ups.

Jayashanthi who had put in six years service was terminated on 28 February 2014. The legal proceedings initiated by her against the college authorities  has come to a standstill due to stone walling by the college management and she is faced with uncertainty. Joseph Antonysamy, Principal, loyola College, denied all charges made by Jayashanthi and described them as lies. Though he promised to give a detailed answer to five questions mailed to him on January 21, there is no response from him even after a week. Jayashanthi  was a most sought after teacher in the college for her skills in teaching and motivating students. She alleged that Prof S  A Rajarajan, the department head,  sought sexual favours from her  many time. “I was appointed on a contract basis by the college  and my appointment could be confirmed only by the department head. That was how it all began,” Jayashanthi told The Pioneer.

Initially , Jayashanthi resisted Rajarajan’s moves but when it became unbearable, she informed the college authorities. The management, after dilly-dallying the issue for months, forwarded her complaint to the anti-sexual harassment committee but with riders from the principal. “The committee was to record the depositions of the witnesses and ensure that Rajarajan was exonerated.  We did not had the authority to reach any conclusions or draw any inferences,” one of the members of the anti-sexual harassment committee told The Pioneer.


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