EFLU students make shocking revelations against professors

Another student revealed her unsettling encounters with an assistant professor from the Film Studies Department

Hyderabad: Female students of the English and Foreign Languages University (Eflu) — against the backdrop of protests seeking the constitution of a sexual harassment committee and a subsequent rape attempt on the campus — said they were seeking a SPARSH (Sensitization, Prevention & Redress of Sexual Harassment) committee due to alleged inappropriate behaviours exhibited by teaching staff.

Sharing their experiences, students raised concerns about their safety and well-being on the campus.

A student accused a professor from the English literature department of persistent inappropriate behaviour, by sending her private messages on WhatsApp. “These messages included personal questions and even late-night calls. The night before February 14, the professor wished me a Happy Valentine's Day,” she said.

Another student alleged that another professor from the English literature department selectively engaged with female students, often shifting conversations from academics to personal questions, such as relationships and opinions about him. “Late-night calls added to the discomfort. He also sends us weird texts and emojis, which he deletes after some time, probably out of fear of facing consequences,” she said.

A third student said that a professor from the department of phonetics and spoken English targeted her. “He sends me 'funny, grammar-related videos' and asks me not to share the same with the class. Many students in the class felt that he made sexual innuendos during lectures, creating an unwelcome atmosphere,” the student said.

A fourth student accused an English professor, who teaches second language studies, of inappropriate behaviour. “He used to text me personally, at odd timings, asking me 'Where are you?' or saying 'You are looking cute', 'Why do you not want to talk to me?', 'I want to talk to you personally', 'Good night', etc,” she said.

She said that despite making complaints, no action was taken, leaving her and others feeling vulnerable.

Another student, detailing her ordeal over alleged advances made by an English teacher, said: “He asked me to take pictures with two of my other female classmates and send them to him. He showed up at places I frequented to interact with me. He kept sending over-friendly messages and also asked my friends about me. When I missed a class, he asked me to his private office. He asked me to stop hanging out with boys and to click pictures with him at university events, which I ignored. I feel extremely unsafe,” she said.

A sixth student said that after the first physical skirmish with guards when they tried to hold an academic discussion on Palestine literature, a second-language English professor misbehaved with a group of seven to nine female students.

“He put his arm around my shoulder and started saying that he was our professor, so we should listen to his words and obey him. This was my first time interacting with him, and we definitely did not know each other well enough for that sort of interaction. I did not like that he was getting very touchy with me. I had brushed off the professor's hands from my shoulder,” she said.

Another student revealed her unsettling encounter with a professor from the film studies department, saying that he met her in the smoking area and likened her to his ex-wife, saying she had mental health issues. “On another occasion, he coerced me to meet him at a restaurant, talked about his sexual encounters and expressed a desire for a more mature partner who understood art; qualities he believed I possessed,” she said, adding that he also hinted at having non-consensual relationships.

Students said that such experiences necessitated meaningful steps on the part of the administration to ensure the well-being of students. They also cited the same for doubting whether a probe into the sexual assault incident by the internal complaints committee, which did not have a student member, would be unbiased.

“It is because of these incidents in the past, we are worried about a free and fair investigation by the ICC,” a student said.

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