Ambedkar University Delhi drops name of teacher from lecture organising panel over sexual harassment allegation
Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) has dropped the name of a teacher as the chairperson of the organising committee of its annual Ambedkar memorial lecture, following objections from students over accusations of sexual harassment against him.
Lawrence Liang, who was found guilty of allegedly sexually harassing a woman PhD scholar of another institution in March this year, was removed from all administrative posts for two years. Liang was the dean of AUD’s school of law and governance. He had challenged his conviction by an internal committee of AUD in a court and the matter is subjudice.
According to a notification issued by the administration on December 3, the vice-chancellor had constituted a committee for the 11th Ambedkar memorial lecture on April 14, 2019, with Lawrence Liang as its chairperson. The university issued another notification on December 7, dropping Liang’s name from the organising committee. HT has copies of both the notifications.
The members of student council of the university’s Karampura campus, where Liang is employed, said they had raised alarm over Liang’s name. “The Ambedkar memorial lecture is the most prestigious event of the university and appointing a professor who was found guilty of sexual harassment as the chairperson of its organising committee was shocking. We protested the move and demanded the administration to remove his name,” said Dhanpal, a councillor in the student council.
Liang, however, said he had told the university that he would not be taking up the responsibility. “Appointment on committees and fulfilling administrative responsibilities is a standard expectation of faculty and employees at the AUD. On receipt of the notification of the constitution of the committee on the 3rd, I communicated to the registrar on the 4th, requesting that I be excused from the responsibility, and they reconstituted the committee accordingly,” he said.
Anshu Singh, assistant registrar, AUD, said Liang had cited “personal reasons” and “other commitments” to remove his name from the list. “He sought permission on December 4 to be excused from the annual Ambedkar memorial lecture. His request was duly accepted by the competent authority on December 7, and a new committee was notified the same day,” she said. Singh, however, said that there was no objection on Liang’s name from the students.
Pritish Menon, another member of students’ council at university’s Kashmere Gate campus, said, “It is even more unfortunate that the university is accepting that it did not include Liang’s name in the committee by mistake. How can they appoint him to any position when the institution had itself barred him from all administrative posts for two years?” he asked.