No Data for Internal Complaints Committee

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Published on April 26, 2022 by

Bengaluru: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has said they have no data on sexual harassment cases and functioning internal complaints committees. There are 327 colleges affiliated with UGC in Bangalore. However, the data on these committees are still missing. A survey by the student’s Outpost, a student collective, shows that 33 per cent of students are not aware of having an ICC. This leads to many unreported cases. Students from different colleges say that their college doesn’t have a functioning ICC.

“You are the first person who told me that there is a thing like ICC in my college. I don’t think we have anything like this here. Even if it is there, I have no idea. A classmate of mine tried harassing me or molesting me, and I had no one in college to go and tell what had happened. I am suffering, and I did suffer a lot. I couldn’t talk to my professors because there was nothing like that in my college, or I had no idea,” informed Vaishnavi Tripathi, a second-year B. com student.

The University Grants Commission has mandated all universities to create an ICC under the Prevention of sexual harassment act. “If they don’t have it, the punishment is that they would be asked, they would be questioned, and we will communicate with them and immediately we will ask them to have a cell,” said Dr. Latha, education officer, UGC. According to a UGC report, 11 sexual harassment cases were registered in Karnataka in 2020 under ICC, and all of them have been resolved. “If there is no data, that does not mean that sexual harassment is not happening. And that is why the importance of an ICC committee is needed. Where these cases are heard in a just manner,” said Bhumika of Durga NGO.

There exists a power imbalance between professors and students in colleges. Hence, in cases of sexual harassment, it becomes important for students to have access to a committee to find approachable representatives.

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