Friday, May 31, 2013

Sexual harassment allegations on Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary (TTS) principal Gnanavaram

TTS principal a habitual offender, say faculty

By Gokul Vannan | ENS - MADURAI

31st May 2013 08:55 AM

Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary (TTS) principal Gnanavaram, who on Thursday sought anticipatory bail after a Manipuri research scholar filed a police complaint alleging sexual harassment, is a repeat offender, if one were to go by the version of the faculty. Many other women at TTS have undergone similar harassment, they asserted.

TTS professor S Cruz Durai said around 15 administrative staff in the institute have filed a complaint with Collector Anshul Mishra stating that they fear working under Gnanavaram after the plight of the research scholar came to light.

A women employee, on request of anonymity, said the principal had an eye for women and would use double entendres if they were alone with him in his room. "Nowadays we avoid entering his room alone," she said.

Contesting Gnanavaram's claim that he had no charges against him during his 20 years of service at TTS, Cruz alleged that he had sexually harassed another student, Mary (name changed), in 2009 and forced her to discontinue studies when she refused to fall in line.

Mary, who worked at a couple of CSI dioceses, had taken a course in divinity at TTS. She was receiving `3,000 per month as stipend from the CSI, but Gnanavaram persuaded her to stop it, promising that he would ensure that she gets full scholarship. After the stipend stopped, Gnanavaram allegedly demanded sexual favours as quid pro quo and on few occasions, also molested her, claimed Cruz.

Annoyed Mary wrote him a stern letter, asking him to mend his ways. Gnanavaram then hounded her. Citing various irregularities, he forced Mary to discontinue studies, Cruz alleged.

Cruz also dismissed Gnanavaram's arguments that it was a motivated complained filed against him by a section of the faculty that had supported a rival candidate against him for the post of principal of the institute in 2009.

He also said that faculty members led by David Rajendran submitted a sexual harassment complaint against the principal to the collector on April 8 on a similar case.

Though Express tried to contact Gnanavaram, he was not available for comment.