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Students should sign undertaking on sexual harassment: Professors

New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) Just like they do in case of ragging, university students should be made to sign undertakings against sexual harassment in order to curb such cases on campuses, said professors of prominent varsities in the capital Tuesday.

At a panel discussion on sexual harassment on the campus at Jamia Milia Islamia (JMI), R. Gopinath, a senior professor of the varsity said: ‘Like ragging, students should be asked to sign a bond on sexual harassment at the time of admission. This will put the message across that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in any form.’

He further said that along with students, teaching and non-teaching staff should also be asked to sign similar undertakings.

Agreeing with him, Janaki Abraham of Delhi University (DU) said there have been several cases of complaints of harassment by students against their teachers, and therefore such an initiative will be more than welcome.

While JMI is still struggling with bringing out of a policy on sexual harassment, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and DU have concrete policies on the same.

Rupamanjari Ghosh who heads the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) at JNU said: ‘JNU was very prompt to form a committee on sexual harassment, but it took us a long time to come out with a proper policy framework. A lot of things had to be kept in mind – there may be false cases, cases in which the victim and the perpetrator were of the same sex.’

Since a lot of harassment cases on students take place out of the varsity campuses, the professors further said that select private accommodations of students should be brought under the administration’s purview.

‘Universities don’t have enough space to accommodate all students because of which most students are forced to look for offsite accommodations. Not all of these private hostels may be safe, therefore universities should bring some of these places under their purview so that the security of their students is ensured,’ Abraham said.

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