Students of 2013-2015 batch of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) have refused to accept degrees from the institute's newly-appointed executive vice chairman R K Pachauri, who is facing sexual harassment charges.
In a letter to Dr. Rajiv Seth, the acting vice-chancellor of the university, TERI alumni have said that they are not in a position to accept their degrees from Pachauri at the upcoming convocation on March 7.
They said the recent inaction of the board of management at the TERI University with respect to their current chancellor Pachauri deeply saddens them as alumni and a former student body.
"The senior management and administration of TERI University has chosen to retain Dr. Pachauri as Chancellor and has also accepted the decision of TERI's governing council to appoint him to the newly created post of Executive vice chairman. We are aware of Dr. Pachauri's immense contributions towards building both TERI and TERI University into what they have become today, and his ability to build global networks, promote the university and institute and to draw funds, projects and grants," the alumni said in the letter.
They said that they would not appreciate and consider a response based on grounds that charges against Pachauri are still 'allegations'.
"It seems like Dr. Pachauri is using all his political clout, media influence and networks to stall judicial process, intimidate witnesses, coerce TERI colleagues and employees to 'persuade' the complainant to withdraw her case and settle out of court as it would be 'better for her since she has nothing more to gain'," they said.
The university has promoted Pachauri, who is facing sexual harassment charges, to the post of executive vice chairman.
Earlier, the complainant in the sexual harassment case against Pachauri slammed the council of TERI for promoting him to executive vice chairman, saying that it was a "shameless act which made her flesh crawl".
In an open letter, the complainant lashed out at the TERI's Governing Council, saying that it was despicable that a man who stands booked on charges of sexual harassment at the workplace, stalking and criminal intimidation had been promoted.
Pachauri has been charged with sexual harassment by a woman researcher who used to work directly under the veteran climate scientist and later resigned from her job as she felt 'let down' by TERI. She has now moved to another organisation.
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