St Stephen’s sexual harassment victim gets a new PhD guide

  • Indra Shekhar Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 29, 2015 12:34 IST

Delhi University has changed the research supervisor of a St Stephen’s college student who had alleged sexual harassment by her guide after Union HRD minister Smriti Irani intervened in the matter.

The 27-year-old student had complained in June that Satish Kumar, her PhD guide, had allegedly sexually harassed her and college principal Valson Thampu tried to protect the accused professor.

Thampu had rejected the allegations against him.

In July, she even claimed that she had an audio recording to prove Kumar’s guilt. The matter is pending before the court now.

The victim had met Irani last Thursday, seeking her help and requesting her change of supervisor because her thesis work has been delayed by several months. The minister assured her support and full access to the lab.

The PhD student also approached the chemistry department with an application, requesting to help her get her compounds, data and access to the lab facilities. This application, the victim had claimed, was rejected by the department.

Gurmeet Singh, DU’s chemistry department head told HT: “We have changed the supervisor at our level. Now it is for the earlier professor to give an unconditional consent to the transfer of research work and other data. Without the consent no professor can accept her. It is now up to the principal and professor to act and allow the smooth transfer without any further waste of time.”

According to officials, if she doesn’t get consent to use the parts of her research done till now, she might have to start afresh.

Speaking to HT the victim said, “I wanted to have a woman guide but this was not granted. Now I fear that some of my compounds and data may be lost. Much of my work is inaccessible as Satish still has a key to the software that I used. There have been discrepancies in the past, I don’t want more time be wasted,” she said.

Singh, however, clarified that the compounds and data were the responsibility of the college. “If any data is lost or compounds are missing, it is the responsibility of the professor and college. The police are also investigating the matter.”

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