The suspension of Prof Sen serves as a strong message from IIT Madras that it will not tolerate any behavior that jeopardizes the well-being of its students. The institute’s actions, coupled with its ongoing efforts to enhance mental health support, demonstrate a commitment to creating a nurturing environment where students can thrive academically and personally.
CHENNAI: The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has taken the drastic step of suspending Professor Ashish Sen following an inquiry committee’s findings that he played a role in the suicide of a research scholar. The committee’s report, submitted in April, concluded that Prof Sen’s actions contributed to the scholar’s deteriorating mental health and ultimately led to his tragic decision.
Five-Member Inquiry Committee’s Findings
The five-member inquiry committee, headed by former Tamil Nadu Director General of Police (DGP) G. Thilakavathi, was constituted in April 2023 to investigate the circumstances surrounding the suicide of research scholar Sachin Kumar Jain in March. The committee’s report, based on extensive interviews with students, faculty, and family members, concluded that Prof Sen’s harsh treatment and excessive pressure on Sachin had a significant impact on his mental well-being.
Allegations of Harassment
Sachin’s brother, Bhawesh Kumar Jain, had filed a complaint in April alleging that Prof Sen’s inhumane treatment towards Sachin was the primary cause of his suicide. He recounted instances of Prof Sen’s verbal abuse and unreasonable demands, which had taken a toll on Sachin’s emotional state.
IIT Madras’ Response
IIT Madras, in a statement, acknowledged the findings of the inquiry committee and expressed its commitment to upholding a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students. The institute also initiated a review of its grievance redressal mechanisms to ensure timely and effective intervention in cases of student distress.
Addressing Mental Health Issues
In a recent interview, IIT Madras Director V Kamakoti emphasized the institute’s efforts to address mental health concerns among students. He highlighted the introduction of various initiatives, including counseling services, workshops, and peer support groups, aimed at fostering a positive and supportive campus environment.
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