Even as Delhi University's prestigious college St Stephen's college continues to be shrouded in controversy, principal Valson Thampu said no other institution in the world has been subjected to such "harassment" but added that it is strong enough to withstand 1000 other such controversies.
Thampu, who has been facing the heat with repeated demands for his resignation, told PTI, "In point of fact no 'controversies' surrounded the college. Controversy involves two sides. Everything inflicted on the institution in the last 8 years has been purely one-sided. What is one-sided must be called an 'attack'."
"It is true, thus, that the college has been subjected to a series of attacks. It is unparalleled in the history of education anywhere in the world that an institution has been attacked for such a long period for nothing," he said.
"I appeal all not to subject the institution to such harassment and respect sanctity of a place of learning that pursues excellence. Do not worry about the college, it is strong enough to stand a thousand 'controversies' so long it remains clean and pure in its soul," he said.
Thampu who studied at St Stephen's and later served the college as a lecturer and officiating principal, took over as the college principal in 2008. He is due to retire from the post in February 2016.
While controversies like allegations of forced conversion of an administrative officer to Christianity, fake degree used for his appointment, banning of e-zine for not seeking permission on content and shielding a professor accused of sexual harassment by a research scholar, have rocked the college from time to time, Thampu said, "I challenge anyone to prove that any allegation levelled against the college had any substance, ever."
The latest controversy to hit the is about a police complaint of vandalism against the e-zine's student editor who has accused Thampu of spoiling his prospects of admission at Columbia University, located in United States.
Thampu maintained that attacks on the college and him are not by the learned society but by a handful of people.
Referring to the Old Stephanians Association, an alumni group which is not recognised by college and has been levelling allegations against Thampu, he said, "There is an alumni rump with about 4 members and couple of other individuals. As against this, there are tens and thousands of people all across the country, and overseas, who appreciate what I have done during my tenure for the college."