A lecturer at the prestigious Karnataka State Dr Gangubai Hanagal Music and Performing Arts University in the city has been accused of sexual harassment. A group of girl students pursuing BA and Diploma courses have demanded the lecturer’s immediate transfer.
The Karnataka State Dr Gangubai Hanagal Music and Performing Arts University, the first music university in South India and second in the country, was established in Mysuru as the city symbolises the country’s cultural heritage. It is a centre for learning, disseminating and teaching music and performing arts.
According to students, Shivakumar, who teaches Hindustani music at the
university, behaved indecently with girl students. The university authorities said that Shivakumar been sent on a long leave though sources told this newspaper that on Friday, he came to the university and had signed the register. He came to the campus on Saturday too.
A student, requesting anonymity told City Today: “Instead of teaching, Shivakumar used to send us messages on What’s App and other messaging mediums. His behaviour does not behove of a lecturer and we had also warned him that we would complain to the authorities.”
The student said that the issue was brought to the notice of the Vice Chancellor but no action has been taken so far. “Shivakumar used to call us up after college hours and ask us to send him messages so that we could remain in touch always. These incidents has been occurring since months and as the college authorities did not act, we approached the Lakshmipuram police but pressure was exerted on us not to file a complaint,” she said.
When this newspaper contacted the Vice Chancellor of the university Vidushi Dr Sarvamangala Shankar she said that she was occupied with official work and would be “giving her version later”.
Registrar Prof A Rangaswamy said that he had received a complaint from 13 students on February 29 against Shivakumar and a Sexual Harassment Committee was formed as per law. “The committee was constituted to probe the allegations and it has submitted its report. We have issued a show-cause notice to Shivakumar and he has been sent on long leave,” he said.
When asked on further action against the lecturer, he said that the committee has just submitted the report without any recommendatory action. The report has to be placed before the music university syndicate. “The report has been sent to the Vice Chancellor and the VC has the authority to call a syndicate meeting. We have our own syndicate with 15 members and they will decide on disciplinary action,” he said.
“A few students have also spoken in favour of Shivakumar that he is a good lecturer. We will have to examine the facts before taking a decision. I want to add that the university will take suitable action against the guilty and there is no question of protecting anyone,” Prof Rangaswamy said.
COMMITTEE MEMBER SPEAKS
When City Today contacted Chethana Radhakrishna, senior faculty of the university, who was in the Sexual Harassment Committee she said that the statements of the students and the lecturer concerned have been recorded.
“Over 13 BA and Diploma students complained about the harassment they faced during and after class hours. Their statements were audio recorded last week. We also spoke to the lecturer Shivakumar and his statements too have been recorded. The committee observations have been recorded in the report,” she said.
“The committee did not give any recommendations as we don’t have powers to do so. But we have mentioned in the report that Shivakumar’s replies to the allegations were not convincing. We have mentioned that a team of legal experts be constituted for their opinion on the issue,” she added.