Hundreds of students and staff at Chennai’s Kalakshetra Foundation, have been protesting on the campus of Rukmini Devi College for Fine Arts since Thursday morning, 30 March, demanding suspension of an assistant professor and three other senior dancers in light of sexual harassment allegations.
The Kalakshetra Foundation - an institute of national importance, directly funded by the Ministry of Culture, was on Wednesday, visited by National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Rekha Sharma, who met with students on the campus.
On Thursday morning, students boycotted the prayer meeting, held at the common prayer and meditation space under a banyan tree after the assistant professor against whom sexual harassment allegations have surfaced, entered the premises.
The boycott was also done to register the students’ protest against the institute’s inaction over the allegations.
Speaking to The Quint, two students listed their demands:
Immediate rustication of the accused faculty members
Official acknowledgement of the students' council as a working body for the welfare of the students
An immediate stop to the verbal harassment and body shaming at the Kalakshetra Foundation
A change of councillor (director) at the institute as the students do not have the confidence to interact with the present councillor.
Meanwhile, addressing media and the protesting students, director Revathi Ramachandran said, "Students have complained today and given their oral representation so far. They have told me that they will submit a written complaint. We will take it into consideration and provide the right solution addressing the issue because our kids (students) at Kalakshetra are very important to us."
While Ramachandran has verbally promised to take action against the accused, the students told The Quint that they "will not move until they get a written statement (from the director)."