Enabling a Secure University Environment

 
  Many of us have experienced some sort of threat or harassment on campus at some point in our lives. These threats and harassment can take many different forms: ragging, sexual harassment, bullying, sexual or gender based violence, threats and intimidation. These incidents have often turned what should be a fulfilling, fun and memorable university career into something frightening and distressing.  
  Since many of us (students, academics, non-academic staff and administrative staff) spend a lot of our time on campus, we all have a responsibility to ensure that it is safe and secure for all of us. At the same time, it is important to have in place various initiatives to help us feel safe and secure.  
  The Online Complaints Mechanism, is a new initiative of the University Grants Commission that has been set up as a means for any member of the university community to lodge a complaint regarding incidents of ragging, harassment, intimidation and bullying. All complaints that are lodged will be investigated and victims of such incidents will be offered support and redress.  
  How does the Online Complaints Mechanism work?  
 
  Any member of the university can lodge a complaint if they are victims of violence of any form. This includes ragging, bullying and sexual and gender based violence.
  Once the complaint is lodged, the relevant authorities (such as the Vice-Chancellor, Student Counsellors etc) are notified and will immediately initiate an investigation regarding the complaint.
  A response will be provided to the person who made the complaint within a specified time period.
  Protection and support will also be provided by the university to the person who has made the complaint to ensure that he/she is not further victimised as a result of the complaint.
 
  How is the Online Complaint Mechanism different from existing grievance procedures in the university?  
 
  It is much easier to make a complaint – you simply have to go online and register your complaint.  You can do this securely and in privacy. 
  Your complaint will be tracked and monitored by the UGC to make sure that you get an appropriate response.
  There is a time-frame within which all complaints will be investigated: this means that when people make complaints, the process does not get dragged out for a long time, causing immense trouble to both person who made the complaint as well as the alleged perpetrator/perpetrators.
  The person who makes the complaint will start receiving support from the moment the complaint is lodged.  Support may take the form of counselling, ensuring safety and protection, and support with continuing education or work. 
 
  What type of grievances can be lodged online?  
 
If you are being subjected to any of the following, you can use the online mechanism:
All forms of ragging
Sexual harassment
Sexual or gender based violence
Threats and Intimidation
Bullying
Harassment
 
  Who can make complaints?  
  All members of the university community: students, academics, non-academics and administration staff  
  Who is responsible for responding to the complaint?  
 
Depending on the nature of the complaint, this might vary, but in general the following will be responsible for ensuring that the complaints are investigated:
Vice-Chancellor
Senior Student Counsellors
Deans
Heads of Department
Staff of the Gender Equity Centre
 
  What if false complaints are lodged?  
  All complaints once lodged will be investigated and cannot be withdrawn.  However, if complaints are found to be false or malicious, those who made such complaints will be subjected to disciplinary procedures.