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Ex-teacher claims she was ‘indeed forced to quit’ St Xavier’s University

Vice-chancellor Father Felix Raj’s denial over incident contested

Subhankar Chowdhury | Published 19.08.22, 06:04 AM
St Xavier’s University

St Xavier’s University

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A former teacher of St Xavier’s University, who has alleged that the authorities forced her to resign last October over her Instagram pictures, said on Thursday she had handed an apology to the university but it “was rejected and, therefore, vice-chancellor Father Felix Raj’s comment that he could have reprimanded me and continue to let me work, doesn’t apply”.

“I apologised in good faith, the apology was rejected, and I was categorically told that I would have to resign,” the teacher said a day after the VC spoke to The Telegraph.

Father Felix Raj had told this newspaper that if the teacher had come back to the campus after it reopened post-Puja vacation, he “would have called her and would reprimand her and tell her not to do that again and join”.

The former teacher said she decided to submit her resignation “out of a sense of deep humiliation and trauma”.

“In my resignation letter, I outlined my humiliation at the hands of the university administration and categorically stated that the said resignation was being tendered under force owing to the spectacularly hostile environment the university administration had created,” she told this newspaper.

She shared excerpts of her legal notice that she had sent to the university in March, to back her claim that the VC did ask her to resign. 

“When my client handed over the said letter of apology to you (the VC), she was again advised by you to resign from her present position as an assistant professor, because allegedly her images had become ‘viral’ in the student community. You also claimed that my client ‘cannot teach here’ and pressured her to resign citing personal reasons,” reads the legal notice drafted by her lawyer.

The teacher said “the narrative” that as she had resigned on October 25, the university authorities had no scope to think differently was an “afterthought”.

“On October 25 (the first working day after the Puja vacation), I was again summoned via a phone call in a bizarrely similar fashion (she said the tone of summoning was the same as on October 7, when she was asked to come to the campus to face a probe),” she said.

On Thursday, Father Felix Raj denied having created any “spectacularly hostile environment” towards the teacher.

“The university never gave her a hostile atmosphere,” he said.

The Telegraph asked the VC whether he again advised her to resign when she handed the letter of apology to him.

He said: “These charges are incorrect. It is also not correct that she was again summoned on October 25.”

The VC told this newspaper on Wednesday that a guardian had complained to the university that he had “spotted” his son looking at “objectionable” pictures of the teacher.

The former teacher has said in her police complaint that it was “logically impossible for any current student to have had access to those photos”. 

She said the pictures should have disappeared within 24 hours of being uploaded. She said she had uploaded her pictures in a bathing suit in June 2021, two months before joining the university and “much before any students from the institution were there on my followers’ list in Instagram”.

When Father Felix Raj was asked on Wednesday why he did not consult cyber experts on the grey areas, he said: “I would have done that if she had not accepted those were her pictures.... But the fact that you have given access to students, that itself is a mistake.”

Last updated on 19.08.22, 06:04 AM

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