For a second time since he was charged with sexual harassment by a former colleague in February 2015, Rajendra Pachauri has proceeded to go on a leave. Pachauri’s decision comes a day after a group of students from the 2013-15 batch of Teri University refused to accept their degrees from the environmentalist, who is the University’s Chancellor. Pachauri first went on leave soon after a woman researcher working with him filed a sexual harassment case against him.
The acting vice-chancellor of Teri University Rajiv Seth confirmed the development to dna. “Dr.RK Pachauri is on leave and he will not be present at the convocation ceremony. He informed me about it today,” said Seth.
In their letter addressed to the Seth and the University’s board of management, the former students had said, “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. 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 7 th , 2016.”
The former students proceeded to demand that, “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. Seth also told dna that the University will be responding to the protest letter by former students. “At TERI University we encourage students to speak their mind and we will respond to their letter.”
Reacting to Pachauri’s decision to go on leave, one of the students from the alumni group said, “I was told today by University’s senior officials that Mr Pachauri will not be present but it was not stated explicitly if it will be because of our protest. Our demand does not end with his absence at the university on convocation day. His continuing presence at the University reflects a moral corruption. In a few days, after the public attention dies down, it may be business as usual, so we are not yet sure if we will attend convocation.”