New Delhi: The placement season at the IIM Bangalore was hit by controversy when its Director Professor G Raghuraman issued a censure order against a dissenting faculty member for initiating a campaign against a potential recruiter.
The order issued by Raghuraman against Associate Professor, Public Policy, Deepak Malghan, demanded retraction of the statement from the latter against the recruiter, just a few days ahead of the placement season was to begin.
Deepak Malghan had written to students at the institute asking them to dissuade Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) from placements at the campus.
Hindustan Unilever Limited’s (HUL) thermometer factory in Kodaikanal proved to be an environmental and health disaster for its employees and communities surrounding the factory.
Malghan wrote to seek solidarity in this campaign asking if it “would be possible to dis-invite HUL/Unilever from the upcoming summer placements unless they pledge to end their environmental racism?”
The director’s order called upon Malghan to avoid certain things.
“You need to develop greater sensitivity towards our colleagues and institutional stakeholders both internal and external," read the Director's note.
The director advised the professor to choose his words wisely. He also told him to communicate directly with the stakeholders involved.
“You have a communication dated June 30, 2018, to the students asking them to dis-invite a potential recruiter from placements. Please retract through an appropriate communication to the recipients of your earlier email at the earliest but not later than October 22, 2018,” the director's order urged the professor.
Defending himself, Malghan told News 18 that the IIM-B has erred by issuing a censure order.
“The potential recruiter is perfectly within its rights to not recruit from IIM-B or any other institution. They are a private corporation. However, IIM-B as a public institution has erred by issuing a censure order against a faculty member for writing to students about the recruiter,” Malghan told News18.
He added, “I have complied with the retraction order from the Director of IIM-B under protest pending appeal. I am confident that the Board, led by the distinguished physician Dr Shetty, will overturn the censure order and restore an environment of free and open academic exchange at IIMB.”
He felt that an institution like IIM-B dis-inviting them from placements will send out a powerful message that management institutions can actually walk the talk about corporate responsibility. “Now that we are legally a full-fledged university, can we actually act like a responsible one? Can we transcend the vacuous paeans from our classrooms, and actually walk the talk?” read the email he sent to the placement committee.
Unhappy about the censure order, Malghan responded to the internal members in an email saying, “Academic autonomy is sacred at any world-class institution. Any intimidation of faculty severely compromises IIM-B’s ability to recruit and retain competent scholars and teachers.”
Malghan assured the students and committee members that he will continue to engage with questions such as the ‘potential recruiter’s’ shameful record of environmental racism both inside and outside the classroom. “Indeed, it is my solemn duty as a scholar and teacher supported by a public institution to follow such a course,” said Malghan.