New Delhi, Feb 11: The Energy and Research institute seems to be in a turmoil as 20 of its alumni refuse to accept their degrees against the appointment of RK Pachauri's appointment as vice-chairman of the governing council.
Pachauri is the vice chancellor of Teri University, which is a part of the parent organization. The contention began after Pachauri faced charges of sexually assaulting a junior colleague and was sent out on bail.
The MSc, MTech, MA and MBA students said,"We would like to make it clear that we are not in a position to accept our degrees from Pachauri at convocation. We reiterate the trajectory that the university is taking is dangerous and grossly inconsiderate, and as alumni, we sincerely hope that Teri University's board of management seriously re-evaluates Pachauri's continuing role as chancellor..."
The letter was addressed to Rajiv Seth, who is the acting Vice Chancellor, with copies sent to the university's board of management and academic council.
On Wednesday, an online petition by Sumedha Basu was started against Pachauri, on behalf of Teri ex-employees and alumni. The prtition said that the elevation sends out an "extremely wrong message to all Teri employees and Teri University students... It is doubtful that any Teri employee would ever report any injustice, misconduct, malpractice, discrimination or suppression in the organization in the fear that the alleged accused will be back in a more powerful position."
It further said,"Our rationale and conscience are clear: the internal committee constituted by Teri has found Pachauri to be guilty of having systematically abused his position of power to exploit and sexually harass a colleague...given the flow of events, it is highly probable that Pachauri has used all his political clout, media influence and networks to stall the judicial process, intimidate witnesses, coerce Teri colleagues and employees to 'persuade' the complainant to withdraw her case."
"As we take small steps in building our careers at different institutions of repute, it is becoming increasingly unviable for us to stay silent on this matter, which we consider to be an absolute contempt of principles, ethics and the law," it further added.
The alumni internal circles too were discussing the matter, citing examples of Kiran Mazumdar Shaw who had resigned as Teri's GC on grounds of moral responsibility. They also criticized Pachauri for resigning from IPCC's post based on the same allegations but not resigning from Teri University.