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26 Sep, 2022
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St Xavier's College

A Female Professor Resigns over Instagram Post in Swimsuit

A female professor from Kolkata’s St Xavier’s College had to give up her job because of an Instagram post where she posed in a swimsuit. The professor was asked to resign by the college authorities and also pay a fine of Rs. 99 crores ($12.4 million). This decision from the university’s management has triggered a privacy debate on social media. People have expressed concerns asking whether it is alright to judge someone’s professional capability on the basis of their personal life.

The news came into light after the Kolkata professor moved to the Kolkata High Court to file a complaint against the university. The teacher has asked for an ‘unconditional apology’, from the management, calling the university’s decision savage as it has caused immense and irreparable damage to her reputation. According to reports, a student’s guardian had complained to the vice-chancellor about her personal photos. However, the teacher has not got any copy of the written complaint.

Apparently, the guardian said, ‘I was appalled to find my son looking at some pictures of the professor where she has posed in a sexually explicit way causing deliberate public exposure’. He further said, looking at a teacher dressed in undergarments and posting the same on social media is utterly shameful for me to witness as a parent. It is obscene, vulgar, and improper for an 18-year old student to see his teacher dressed in sexy clothes.

Replying to the complaint the teacher said, ‘I heard what was read out and was asked to quit’.

Dealing with her case, the teacher moved to the Jadavpur police station, and filed a complaint to inquire about how her post got leaked to a third person. The teacher had limited friends added on her Instagram account and her students were not a part of that group. Technically, no student could have got access to her photos without her knowledge.

Addressing to this case, Upal Chakrabarti, assistant professor of sociology at Presidency University said that it is important to find out if her social media expression has affected her teaching duties. If her post has not affected her teaching duties then connecting her social media expression to her professional duties is not justified.

Notably, around four years ago, the Xavier’s University management issued a controversial circular stating ‘Avoid wearing revealing and indecent dresses like short pants from January 2018.’

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