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IIM Banglore Silent Over Professor’s Appeal to Set Aside Censure Order

Deepak Malghan was issued a censure order for campaigning against Hindustan Unilever (HUL), a potential recruiter, just a few days ahead of the placement season was to begin in 2018.

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:January 17, 2019, 9:58 PM IST
IIM Banglore Silent Over Professor’s Appeal to Set Aside Censure Order
IIM Bangalore building.

New Delhi: It has been six weeks since IIM Banglore’s associate professor Deepak Malghan appealed to the institute’s board of governors to overturn a censure order issued against him, But there has been no response from the administration.

Malghan was issued censure order for campaigning against Hindustan Unilever (HUL), a potential recruiter, just a few days ahead of the placement season was to begin in 2018. He had written to students at the institute seeking solidarity in his campaign against the HUL and to explore if it “would be possible to dis-invite HUL/Unilever from the upcoming summer placements unless they pledge to end their environmental racism.”

On November 28, Malghan appealed to Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, chairperson, board of governors (BoG), and sent three emails – dated December 28, January 14 and 17 as a follow up on the response over his appeal. He also submitted the details of the disciplinary censure, including a prayer to the chairperson, asking him to set aside the October 17 censure order.

Speaking to News 18, Malghan said, “I would like to know about the status of my appeal. It has now been six weeks and I know the Board has met once during this period. However, my three requests to the secretary of the Board in this regard have not generated any response.”

Malghan says he wants to reinstate his retracted email before the final placements in March. “HUL/Unilever have withdrawn from the summer placements and have withdrawn a visiting faculty position at IIM-B. Under the circumstances, I would like to reinstate my original email and appeal to the students to not invite HUL/Unilever for final placements in March,” he said.

Insisting that HUL's actions go against all the MBA classroom learnings about corporate responsibility, Malghan said, “HUL and Unilever have not only continued with their silence on the issue of environmental racism but have arm-twisted a public institution into bullying one of its faculty members. Bullying and arm-twisting a public institution like IIMB in the face of indefensible record of environmental racism in Kodaikanal is not consistent with anything that business school students are taught in their business ethics classrooms.”

News18.com had reported on December 5, 2018 about the order issued by IIM Bangalore director G Raghuraman against Malghan after the latter appealed to students to stand up to corporate bullying.

Meanwhile, Human Rights and Business Network (HRBN) expressed concern over the administration’s decision of censuring Malghan.

The HRBN is a coalition of academics, civil society activists, journalists, and indigenous groups created to defend the human rights of precarious communities in India. In a statement expressing solidarity with Malghan, it said, “IIMB’s decision to censure Dr Malghan is a shocking display of submission to corporate interests. This meekness is a symptom of an affliction by a malaise known to infect many business schools – the substitution of higher aims, in this case academic freedom and defending the weak, with an eagerness to become ‘hired hands’ in the service of corporations.”

The HRBN has requested the board of governors at IIM Bangalore to reverse the decision and reiterate the protections of academic freedom at the institute. “If schools at the forefront of education like IIM-B can be bullied into submission, our entire higher education system risks losing its spine to ever stand up to forces inimical to social justice. The reversal will also be a message of reassurance for the academic community in India,” their statement reads.

News 18 sent an email to the secretary, BoG IIM-B, but got no response. The story will be updated as and when the Board responds.

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