St. Joseph’s Update 1# So the Jesuit administration is getting more pathetic by the minute. Today, they ran to one of my classes and starting collecting signatures on a complaint letter against me (after I have been fired and have left the college!!!). Students were being coerced and hustled into signing. Some of my students signed and did not even know what they were signing. Others refused to sign. Some were wisely kept away from by the Jesuits. How pathetic can you get, guys? Nine more classes to go, guys!. Then the MAs.
Two more points here a) if there were a series of complaints against me by students and parents, why was I not informed about it? The standard protocol in academic institutions is to inform people if they are being seen as a problem, not to sack them unceremoniously b) Students (and now parents have been added to the press release by the Principal and the college) being disturbed are concerns on the basis of which to sack a teacher but when they are disturbed by draconian rules, by being pulled out of exam halls for long hair or torn jeans or ear-studs or coloured hair, by being asked to cough up money or be denied hall tickets, when parents are called compulsorily to college for a day-long workshop to help them deal with their children and are asked to pay for it and the list goes on – none of that is disturbance at all?
St. Joseph’s Update 2# So it has come to my knowledge that a certain Prithvi Chandavarkar has written an fb post and anonymously circulated a whatsapp post about my sacking. I read it and the incoherence, illogic and poor thinking in it helped me identify him immediately. He was in the MA II class I helped with their Research paper. Just to clarify a few points: a) Having talks by LGBT individuals is not the same as hiring LGBT individuals. That I was the only out LGBT individual in the college says great things about the college’s inclusive policies b) This deluded and somewhat creepy man claims to have knowledge about my past. Good to know that students are stalkers. The homophobia in his insinuations about my past is obvious. c) Of course I did not make eye contact with him because I make eye contact only with students who are alive in class, who have a brain and who are listening c) He threatens violence and warns me. I will be crossing him soon with my lawyer so we will see what is in store for whom d) The English Department is indeed so liberal that the HoD sent a message to all teachers today saying they should not talk to the media and if they do should give the college version or say they know nothing at all. It is so liberal that students were told to keep out of it all and not speak to the media either c)The college is so liberal that all the posts below show it really well, especially the Principal’s comment about gay couples. I will be examining his open letter with my lawyer and his veiled homophobia, his open threats and much else (My students have sent me screenshots of it all and copies of it all). A true product of this institution he proves himself to be. The actual open letter reeks of misinformation, lies, vicious homophobia and unfounded allegations a) I did not abandon any students. I still had my four and took on a fifth till my last day in college and also offered to continue to supervise them as only 10 days are left for submission b) I was not assigned to the class at all. I volunteered to help as the MA research for many students was in pitiable shape and I helped many students get up to scratch c) I wait for an official complaint from any student that I was “creepily sexual” or “interfered with their private lives.” These are serious, libellous claims and I am talking to my lawyer about this post and letter. Ditto with charges of “similar conduct” and “abhorrent behaviour.” I will not let him get away with any of this. This is the sort of rank homophobia and unbelievable violence that we have to face every day of our lives in institutions as LGBT people where we both do not make eye contact but are creepily sexual, where people make claims about our lives and pasts with absolutely no knowledge of anything about our lives having seen us for a couple of months.
St. Joseph’s Update 3# The college has put out a statement to the press parts of which are quoted in The Newsminute article below. Just some clarifications on it a) It says it knew full well I was gay as it was stated in my application and at my interview. It was not clearly stated in either. b) If it is my personal choice to be gay, why aren’t my opinions my personal choices too? Why are my personal opinions a problem and my “choice” to be homosexual not one? c) Does the college pay any heed to the sensitivities of UG students from heterogeneous backgrounds? Why impose a no ear stud rule on boys who are wearing ear studs since childhood as part of their culture? Why penalise women who hug boys on their birthdays or who are hugged by boys on their birthdays because their (and anybody sane’s culture) demands that they do so? Why penalise girls who wear leggings, colour in their hair, torn jeans and who go to pubs – all that may be their idea of culture, right? Why ask girls and boys to sit separately, not be seen together walking or sitting anywhere? I am supposed to have crossed a line. Who decides that line? Aren’t all these things I’ve just pointed out not crossing the line? Who is imposing personal opinions on others? My “opinions” were actually different positions in a debate or points in a controversion exercise where they are supposed to challenge a dominant notion or opinion or idea or sentiment. These are forms of argumentation we are supposed to teach students to make them critical, thinking individuals. Critical thinking is crossing the line. Making students bow obediently to threats, coercion and illegal methods is not. The Jesuits do not have opinions. They do not force them on anyone. Only certain teachers do.
St. Joseph’s Update 4# A certain priest was harassing girl students in college, sending them lewd messages at night. It came to the knowledge of a certain lecturer who stood by the students and brought it to the notice of the administration. At the end of that year (last year, actually), that lecturer was fired. That certain priest is now in charge of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee in college. Is no student disturbed by this? Is no parent disturbed by this? Do the students and parents know? Has there been a signature campaign? May we start one now?
St. Joseph’s Update 6# For those who think that my sexual orientation has nothing to do with my hiring and firing, here are some things for you to ponder: a) I was pretty much offered a job and asked to join from Monday last year at St. Joseph’s College of Commerce (SJCC) and then blanked out on and not called again. I have a PhD, over 10 years of teaching, publications and research. I was told by insiders that the teacher I was to replace went and showed a news report to the Principal of that college (who is seen by the way, as liberal) which said I was a gay activist. I was denied the job b)an MA student (see Update 2#) has been spreading vicious and homophobic lies about my being “creepily sexual,” making claims about my past about which he knows nothing and so on. This comes from rank homophobia and he contradicts his own point about St. Joseph’s being a liberal space c) Homophobia is something LGBT out faculty, or even faculty not out, face every day of our lives. I have written about this before and an article should be out in DNA soon on the issue by me. in Joseph’s, I was stared at and jeered and comments were passed as I walked by by students, teachers and every level of person. It is something we LGBT people have to deal with just like women deal with sexual harassment. It is so endemic that it is just taken for granted. d) Only the homosexual is creepily sexual (the heterosexual is never so even as 99% of sexual harassment is by heterosexual men e) Whatever the homosexual does or does not do is suspect: if he does not make eye contact, it is because he is ashamed of something and hiding it; if he does analyse a student’s whatsapp status as a text linked to the language of popular romances which a student is researching he is interfering in personal lives. Either way you are damned whereas any comments straight faculty make are a blank slate because straight people have no sexuality at all. Sexuality is part of the classroom. Students are forever sexualising teachers, speculating about them, commenting about them. That is part of the process. But with a gay person, it becomes sleaze that can be thrown back at him. As David Halperin has argued in Saint Foucault, recounting his own terrible experience of homophobia in a US University, no matter what you do or do not do as a gay man, you are doomed for just being gay. I take this to the classroom. I talk about sexuality not only because it is part of the texts I teach and the discussions we need to have in the sphere of the literary and the political but because it is part of my gay politics and feminist politics. Once again, this is bound to destabilise and I aim to destabilise. The conservative nature of students and institutions does not mean I will hide who I am or what I want to say. It is predictable that women love my classes and straight men are unnerved by them, male institutions are. I will not be cowed down by either.
The News Minute Link : http://bit.ly/2mOjOJL