TERI University Alumni Refuse To Accept Degrees From RK Pachauri

11/02/2016 9:41 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) Rajendra K Pachauri looks on during the seventh Darbari Seth Memorial lecture in New Delhi on August 19, 2008. The Darbari Seth Memorial Lecture is organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in memory of its founder Darbari Seth. AFP PHOTO/ Manpreet ROMANA (Photo credit should read MANPREET ROMANA/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- Around 200 alumni of TERI University have refused to accept their degrees from their institute's chancellor, RK Pachauri, who is accused of sexually harassing a woman colleague. In a letter written to Rajiv Seth, the acting chancellor of the university, the students of the 2013-15 batch have said that they would not accept their degrees from the 76-year-old former director general of TERI, who was recently promoted to the position of executive vice chairman despite the serious criminal charges against him.

"The recent inaction of our board of management at TERI University with respect to our current chancellor Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri deeply saddens us as alumni and a former student body," they wrote. "The stance of the entire top management at the University and at TERI has been implicitly that the university may continue churning out competent professionals who are good at application in their specialized domains of knowledge but with a complete disregard for values, ethics and principles of any kind."

The convocation is in less than a month, on 7 March.

The former students have expressed their disappointment at the university's decision to retain Pachauri as the chancellor. Despite his immense contributions towards building both the think tank as well as the university, they said that "no measure of such contributions can be used to justify alleged criminal behavior in the form of actions that cause serious harm to another human being."

Pointing to the fact that Pachauri was asked to resign from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) soon after the allegations against him surfaced around this time last year, the students said that claiming that the charges against him were still "allegations" was not a response.

"Our rationale and conscience are both clear: the Internal Complaints Committee constituted by TERI has found Dr. Pachauri to be guilty of having systematically abused his position of power to exploit and sexually harass a colleague."

They alleged that the climate scientist was using "all his political clout, media influence and networks to stall the 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’."

Claiming that it has become "unviable" for the former students to stay silent on the issue, they called Pachauri's actions "an absolute contempt of principles, ethics and the law".

They have demanded that the university board should re-evaluate Pachauri's role.

"It is only the basic and essential good practice that he may immediately recuse himself from the post of chancellor and cease involvement in TERI University matters pending completion of legal proceedings."

Read the full letter below:

To

Dr. Rajiv Seth

Acting Vice‐chancellor

TERI University

Cc:

Board of Management

& Academic Council

TERI University

10, Institutional Area,

Vasant Kunj,

New Delhi – 110070

Sub: Refusal to accept degrees from Dr. Pachauri at 2016 convocation by

2013¬2015 batch

Dear Dr. Seth,

The recent inaction of our board of management at TERI University with respect to our current chancellor Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri deeply saddens us 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.

Nevertheless, no measure of such contributions can be used to justify alleged criminal behavior in the form of actions that cause serious harm to another human being. However, the stance of the entire top management at the University and at TERI has been implicitly that the university may continue churning out competent professionals who are good at application in their specialized domains of knowledge but with a complete disregard for values, ethics and principles of any kind.

We will not appreciate and consider a response based on the grounds that the charges against Dr. Pachauri are still “allegations”, and that he has not been convicted. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gave Dr. Pachauri no leeway for his alleged actions and he had to resign as its Chairman despite the fact that he was near the end of his term. This stands in stark contrast with either TERI, which has created a unique position for him, or TERIUniversity, which has let him continue in his capacity as Chancellor. Our rationale and conscience are both clear: the Internal Complaints Committee constituted by TERI has found Dr. Pachauri to be guilty of having systematically abused his position of power to exploit and sexually harass a colleague.

Given the flow of events, it is seems like Dr. Pachauri is using all his political clout, media influence and networks to stall the 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’.

As we take small steps in building our careers at different institutions of repute, it is becoming increasingly unviable for us to stay silent on this matter, which we consider to be an absolute contempt of principles, ethics and the law. We have a certain duty to uphold some sense of justness as responsible citizens of society.

Dr. Pachauri’s continuing presence at the top is completely antithetical to our convictions as alumni and graduates of TERI University. We would like to make it explicitly clear that we are not in a position to accept our degrees from Dr. Pachauri at the upcoming convocation on March 7th, 2016. We reiterate, that the trajectory that the University is taking is dangerous and grossly inconsiderate, and as alumni, we sincerely hope that the TERI University Board of Management may seriously re‐evaluate Dr. Pachauri’s continuing role as Chancellor of the university.

It is only the basic and essential good practice that he may immediately recuse himself from the post of chancellor and cease involvement in TERI University matters pending completion of legal proceedings.

Barring an appropriate response from the TERI University Board of Management, as 2013‐2015 alumni we will make the assumption that the situation remains unchanged and that the University will not engage constructively with our concerns, following which, the undersigned will not be in a position to accept their degrees from Dr. Pachauri at the 2016 convocation.

Also Read: Here Are The Men And Women Who Promoted RK Pachauri To Executive Vice Chairman

Also Read: RK Pachauri Is Being Promoted At TERI, Incoming DG Is Apprehensive

Also Read: Complainant Quits TERI, Alleges Mistreatment

Also Read: TERI Publicises Identifying Information Of Complainant

Also Read: Complainant Files Writ Petition Against TERI

Also Read: Woman, Who Accused RK Pachauri Of Sexual Harassment, Says She's Still 'Further Victimised'

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