The newly-elected Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) today criticised the administration's move to replace the Gender Sensitive Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) with an internal complaints committee. The JNU Teachers' Association (JNUTA) too criticised the decision. "The JNUSU strongly condemns this attack on the autonomous character and democratic composition of GSCASH and replace it with the administration's handpicked nominated members. Such attempts to throttle the institution of GSCASH and subordinate it to administrative diktats will be robustly rebuffed," JNUSU president Geeta Kumari said in a statement. In a letter, dated September 12, the JNU registrar said that an internal complaints committee (ICC) would be replacing GSCASH under the UGC Regulations, 2015. According to the UGC provisions on sexual harassment of women employees, ICC would be having members nominated by the administration, whereas GSCASH had all the elected members. "The university has decided to constitute the internal complaints committee after discussion on this issue in the last Executive Council meeting," the letter reads. The letter further said, "The matter will be taken up in the Executive Council meeting to be held on 18.09.2017.
And all are hereby informed that any election to GSCASH hereinafter called as ICC, should be kept on hold till further notice." Opposing the move, Kumari said, "The JNUSU assures the student community that we will fight tooth and nail against any administrative attempts to undermine GSCASH." The JNUTA in a statement said the aim of the administration was to make GSCASH into a body of three nominated faculty, two nominated non-teaching staff, and three elected student representatives. Elections for the student representatives are proposed to be conducted by the JNU administration. "All the detailed provisions for manner and mode of inquiry, checks and balances, penalties, sensitisation programmes, duties and responsibilities, made in the legal GSCASH Rules have been eliminated," JNUTA president Ayesha Kidwai said. "Substituting these rules with an institution-blind set of abstract regulations, which do not contain any concrete instructions for inquiry, penalty, sensitisation, is an attempt at erasure of the history of the JNU community's two decade long effort at furthering gender justice on this campus. The JNUTA will not allow this to happen," Kidwai said.
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