An assistant professor of a private Arts college in Aruppukottai, in Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu, has been placed under suspension for seeking sexual favours from students for higher officials in the Madurai Kamaraj University. The suspension follows a complaint filed by the students on 19th March. The issue came to light after a telephonic conversation between the professor and the girl students was leaked online on Sunday. The conversation has sent shock waves across the state and exposes the sordid scale of corruption in the higher education system in the state.
Following protests by parents and students outside the college premises, Pandiarajan, principal of the Devanga Arts College, filed a complaint with the Arupukottai police against P.Nirmala Devi, faculty member of Mathematics department. Minister for fisheries, D. Jayakumar, expressed shock at the incident and said firm action will be taken against the professor. Meanwhile, sources say, the education department is likely to conduct an investigation into the matter.
In the audio clip that runs for close to 19 minutes, Nirmala Devi is heard telling a group of students that certain things should be done “secretly” which can help them in their academic progress. She also adds that if students oblige, the Madurai Kamaraj University, will serve as their “backbone” and ensure career progression up to the doctorate level. ” On the academic side, I can take the four of you to a big level, I can assure you that. He is that big an official. I will make sure your practical marks are not affected. You will get financial and academic support. We will deposit money in your account”, she is heard telling the undergraduate students.
Despite the students repeatedly rejecting the offer, the professor threatens them of dire consequences if the conversation were to come out. She even asks them not to decide hastily and instead to think over and inform her of their decision in three days time. While Nirmala Devi has admitted that it is her voice in the audio clipping but claims that students have misconstrued the conversation and denied luring students to sex work. Meanwhile, the college authorities have also initiated an enquiry into this episode.